RAG member: Joanna Brendon MBE

Paintings in Hospitals has launched OASIS (Original Art for the Socially Isolated) in the Guildford and Waverley area this November. It is a pilot project created to ease social isolation and loneliness at home by connecting participants with art, creative activities, and communities of like-minded people while lending a supportive ear or offering advice to others experiencing similar struggles. The project aims to place meaningful artworks, specially produced for individuals, directly into peoples homes and to enable participants to make new social connections through a range of guided conversations and group activities.

Joanna, the founder of the initiative who brought the concept of OASIS to Paintings in Hospitals, knows the struggle people face in isolation from her own complex health challenges. Im an all-too-frequent visitor to hospital. Initially, it was here where I discovered the work of Paintings in Hospitals. Coming home, I realised how fortunate I am to be surrounded by art, including my own, the creating of which is hugely important to my wellbeing. This led me to think that, while patients benefit from art in hospital, it is those isolated at home who really suffer from the lack of it, whether to soothe or stimulate. This isolation pre-existed the pandemic but the virus shone a spotlight on it and exacerbated the problem for vulnerable people: people with chronic, and sometimes terminal, illnesses who dont often visit hospitals as there is nothing there to improve their clinical experience or outcome. Im in my mid-seventies, and still regard myself as very much alive, but I am realistic about my health conditions, so it was very important that whatever I set up was sustainable.”