FOURTEEN paintings created by patients at Bradford's Marie Curie Hospice are going on show at London's Royal Academy next week.
The exhibition called Life Embraced follows an approach from the Royal Academy via the Hampstead Hospice in the capital which has a connection with the Burlington Gardens institution.
The Bradford and Hampstead hospices are believed to be the only places where art therapy takes place among the nine Marie Curie hospices in the country.
The paintings have been produced by patients who attend day therapy classes run by Steve Davis at the Bradford hospice in Maudsley Street.
Willie Hathaway, whose painting of a lighthouse is seen here, said: "It is relaxing and a good way of learning a new skill and also a way of making new friends. Very therapeutic and excellent care."
Another contributor Mary Buta said: "I never thought I'd do it, but Steve shows you little bits at a time and I seem to be doing very well. I've surprised myself really."
The Royal Academy Schools' exhibition, in partnership with Marie Curie Cancer Care, gives a rare glimpse into the role of art for those living and working with serious illness.
The paintings and drawings on display are all by those involved with Marie Curie - both patients, including works produced in art therapy sessions, and nurses, carers and volunteers, one of whom is herself a student at the Royal Academy Schools.
The collaboration is aimed at engaging the viewers in a conversation about the vitality of art as exploration, self-expression and transformation at challenging moments in lives and the value of art therapy.
David Allyson, who attends the Bradford hospice, said: “The morning of art which I attend continues to be a source of enjoyment, therapy and banter between the patients.
"Hopefully our artwork is getting better as well. A morning painting at the hospice makes you breathe more easily. So, thanks to the Bradford Marie Curie Day Therapy Team.”
Joyce Bates, who also goes to the art sessions, said: “At the hospice there’s a feeling of calm and kindness around me, I so enjoy the company.”
Steve Davis, who runs the classes, said: “It is really gratifying for me to feel that I have had something to do with developing a skill and sense of confidence in each individual which they did not realise was possible, especially in the circumstances in which they find themselves .
"Art is a great way to distract people from their problems, and at the same time give them a sense of achievement.”
Sharon Link, fundraising manager at the hospice, said: "Steve does a fantastic job here and when patients saw their paintings packaged up on their way to London, showed a great sense of pride in knowing that their works would be exhibited in such a grand setting – and rightly so. All our services are free to patients and their families including the art therapy."
On seeing their paintings being sent off to London the patients reportedly showed a great sense of pride in knowing that their works would be exhibited in such a grand setting.
For the last three years the Bradford hospice, which has charity shops on Darley Street and Ivegate, has been selling calendars displaying the artwork of patients which has been complimented by exhibitions at City Hall, the Industrial Museum and Keighley's Cliffe Castle.
A fourth calendar is being prepared for 2015.
It is hoped that paintings from both Hospices will be put on show at a shared venue in Bradford during the next few months.
Running the Bradford Marie Curie Hospice costs about £3.5 million per year (£10,000 per day). Recently £900,000 of work was done on the wards. The charity relies heavily on the generosity and support of local community and its fundraising Groups Bradford and surrounding towns and villages.
The exhibition runs from July 15-18.