CHENNAI: White walls, white lights and white coats — the mention of a doctor’s visit conjures up this image. But Kauvery Hospital is hoping to change this sterile atmosphere into one of colour and life, by adorning their walls with the works of local artists.
Patience with patients
To lighten the atmosphere during patients’ recovery, this hospital in Alwarpet decided to incorporate art into their decor to brighten up the space. Colour psychology reveals that certain colours have varied effects on the mind, with black and red tones inciting anxiety and fear, and blue and green tones inciting calmness and serenity.
“We were careful in our choice of art. We didn’t want to chose contemporary art, as the colours and the forms can be a little perplexing. Thus, we settled for scenic pictures with relaxing colours like blues, greens and yellows. Good art calms you down, and brings memories that can kindle good emotions in patients,” said Dr Bhuvaneshwari Rajendran, consultant neurologist, neurophysiology, Kauvery Hospitals.
She explained that a visit to the doctor can cause stress in most people irrespective of their age. Calming art helps put a rest to their worries, and thus, assist her while attending to the patient. In certain cases, especially that of white coat hypertension, which refers to the blood pressure levels measured in a clinical setting, such calming art supports a better diagnosis by the doctor.
“Everybody needs a soothing environment. Some of our older patients come here alone, as their children live abroad. Art puts them at ease, and leaves a smile on their face. That’s really what we are aiming for,” she said.
Additionally, Dr Rajendran adorns her office with art pieces she has collected over the years. They act as an ice-breaker and a point of conversation between the doctor and the patient, making the latter more forthcoming while sharing their health issues, she said.
Drawing out local art
This initiative also supports lesser-known local artists.
“We were approached by the hospital five months ago to put up some soothing paintings for the patients. Paintings with pastel shades and those depicting flowers are the most soothing to the eyes. I also chose watercolour paintings as the medium is very relaxing,” said Mala Rajendar, one of the artists, whose ten paintings are on display.
Although Rajendar has no formal education in art, her passion for drawing led her to take part in an art workshop held at Forum Art Gallery, Adyar, in 2016. After picking up the basics in perspectives, form and shading across media, the homemaker continues to paint in her free time.
“Interestingly, making this art for the patients also had a soothing effect on me. Painting is an incredibly relaxing experience for me,” she shared. The other ten artworks are by Vara Badri. “I started painting as a hobby. Over a period of time, I felt that they should be of use for people, rather than sitting in a room in my house. When I see beautiful art, it soothes me, and so I decided to put it to better use,” she said.
The Fine Arts graduate from Stella Maris College rekindled her passion for art with this project. Having attended the same workshop as Mala in 2016, the long-time friends decided to collaborate on this project.
“I hope patients feel pleasant when they see my art. Art can be pursued by anybody, provided they put their mind and heart to it. It is something that can be dutifully practised and perfected. I am glad that my art will give patients peace,” said Badri.