Daniel Connell interacts with patients at Ernakulam GH

Patients at the Ernakulam General Hospital took a break from their routine medical treatment when they underwent a therapy of a different sort at the hospital on Saturday morning. Renowned Australian artist Daniel Connell interacted with the patients and even drew portraits of some of them as part of the Kochi Biennale Foundation’s (KBF) ‘Arts and Medicine’ project.

Mr. Connell is familiar to Kochiites through his portraits that adorned walls in Fort Kochi during the first edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale.

The artist drew images of a teashop owner and other everyday faces from the city in a work titled ‘Look Back’ as part of the Biennale in December 2012. Back in Kochi, the artist put smiles on the faces of some of the patients at the hospital, most of whom did not know who he was. He only had to sit down to do a portrait of 58-year-old Ramuthai for everyone to mill around and watch him work. Ramuthai from Madurai was at the hospital for cancer treatment and the excitement of modelling for an artist for the first time was clear on her face. While the artist worked on the portrait, ‘Pepper Band’ played soothing music in the background, creating a relaxing setting for the patients. The ‘Arts and Medicine’ project is being conducted by KBF with guidance from Iva Fattorini, chair, Global Arts and Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi, and Ernakulam district administration. “We should promote all those programmes which provide solace to patients,” said Dr. Junaid Rehman, special officer to Kochi Cooperative Medical College, who inaugurated the project.

Mr. Connell will visit the hospital in the coming days to draw the portraits of the patients, bystanders and hospital staff.

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