“We have designed local symbols based on feed back from visitors and patients. Many visitors find it difficult to manoeuvre around the hospital in the absence of appropriate cultural visual signs.
We are testing peoples’ interpretation of sign language and are putting up signs which visitors and patients identify with,” said Qudsia Raheem, curator of the Zahoorul Akhlaq Gallery at the National College of Arts (NCA). Raheem is spearheading a project at Mayo Hospital’s cancer ward for the last three weeks and would officially open on April 23.
The project is part of Art for Humanity, an elective course introduced by the National College of Arts (NCA), aiming to improve visual signs in public spaces, was inaugurated on April 9.
Twenty-six third-year students from three disciplines – art and design, architecture and fine arts – are formulating a visual language based on feedback from visitors and patients at the Mayo Hospital.
Raheem said the Mayo Hospital project was an art intervention project. “Perhaps innovation is a more appropriate word instead of intervention as the students are devising an innovative use of design to facilitate visitors and patients,” she said
She said once the students’ work was done, a survey would be taken over six months to figure out follow up work to improve the project.
A society is also slated to be established at the National College of Arts to keep a tab on more such art initiatives in public places.
NCA students were joined by employees of BF Biosciences and ICI Dulux at Mayo Hospital’s cancer ward for the project launch. Rahim said such projects connect students, artists and faculty to the realities of our community.
ICI Dulux is providing paints for the project. BF Bioscience Limited, an Argentine pharmaceutical, is also funding the project. The pharmaceutical will provide scholarships to four National College of Arts students annually.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2012.