New work of art reflects on pandemic experiences

  • General news
Colin Martin RHA pictured in front of Laboratory

A new painting by Colin Martin RHA has been officially unveiled at RCSI.

The artwork, entitled ‘Laboratory’, was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and depicts the surgical and clinical training laboratory in National Surgical and Clinical Skills Centre, RCSI.

The artwork was created by Colin Martin RHA, winner of the RCSI Art Award 2020 in association with The Irish Times and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) Annual Exhibition.

Professor Cathal Kelly, RCSI Vice Chancellor, said: "The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted every facet of daily life and challenged the fabric of society. Over the past two years, RCSI students, clinicians and staff have worked tirelessly in the face of incredible challenges. As we enter a new phase of the national response, it’s important to reflect on the unique experiences and perspectives that have been transformed by the pandemic. Colin Martin’s painting powerfully captures the impact of the pandemic on our community, on our campus and hospitals as well as the healthcare professionals who were at the frontline of the national and international response."

Aíne Gibbons, Director of Development and Chair of the RCSI Art Committee, said: "2020 was a year like no other and COVID 19 has changed the way we work, disrupted our daily lives and confronted us with unimaginable challenges. Through this artwork, Colin Martin has marked this annis horriblis in an emotive and inspirational manner. He has created an artwork which serves as a tribute to the courage and dedication of the RCSI community. We hope this artwork will inspire generations of students, trainees, alumni and all those who view it."

Colin Martin RHA said: "Commissioned and made during the global pandemic, the painting ‘Laboratory’ depicts the surgical and research lab in RCSI, 26 York Street. This work evolved from a period of artist research related to pandemic related spaces. It is both a document and staged narrative of that space and refers to the abandonment of our shared spaces in recent times and the role that health professionals played and continue to play in the COVID crisis."

Laboratory art award 2022

The RCSI Art Award was awarded to Colin Martin in 2020 for his work titled ‘Model City (Blade Runner)’, which makes reference to science fiction genres and imagined futures that have come to pass. Colin Martin's practice is situated in the western genre traditions of European painting such as portraiture, still life, the interior and history painting viewed through the prism of the technological age. Martin’s interiors often take a deadpan documentary approach and build a narrative to ideas that underpin interior space.

The RCSI Art Award was established in 2016 to celebrate the common heritage of RCSI and the RHA and the long-standing association between art, medicine and well-being.

Both RCSI and the RHA have Georgian origins and are 32-county bodies. RCSI was occupied, while the RHA was destroyed in the Easter Rising of 1916 and the RCSI Art Award was established to coincide with the centenary of these historic events. Past winners of the award include Remco de Fouw (2016), Miranda Blennerhasset (2017), Amelia Stein (2018) and Mary A. Kelly (2019).