New mural at U of A Hospital honours frontline health-care workers

·2 min read
AJA Louden created this mural for an art gallery at the University of Alberta Hospital  to honour the efforts of frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Tyler Sherard - image credit)
AJA Louden created this mural for an art gallery at the University of Alberta Hospital to honour the efforts of frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted by Tyler Sherard - image credit)

Exhaustion, anxiety, resilience and hope are some of the emotions captured in a new mural honouring Alberta's front-line health-care workers.

Edmonton artist AJA Louden was commissioned by Friends of University Hospitals to create a large-scale artwork that would reflect the experiences of health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mural is a series of large words and phrases taken from Louden's conversations with workers about what the past year had been like for them.

"Myself, I'm an artist; I'm not a health-care worker. So to make sure that community was reflected, we needed to ask them about how they were feeling, about what they wanted to see," said Louden, who was featured on CBC's Edmonton AM on Wednesday.

"The piece is really centred around the health-care workers' emotional experience during this whole pandemic," he said.

During his conversations with the workers, the most common word Louden heard in was "exhausted."

They described the uncertainty they've felt during the pandemic, but also the collaboration and innovation in maintaining social connections through the lock down, Louden said.

"My biggest impression as an artist from listening to these health-care workers was how complex and layered this emotional journey has been," he said.

Louden's work was unveiled on Monday at the McMullen Gallery in the hospital.
Louden's work was unveiled on Monday at the McMullen Gallery in the hospital.(Submitted by Tyler Sherard)

Tyler Sherard, executive director for Friends of University Hospitals, said the mural is getting positive reviews, saying he thinks it captures the breadth of response of health workers.

"I hope that they'll feel that we tried to honour them and their work and their dedication," Sherard said. "I hope that it serves as a way to commemorate the collective experience."

The work, spray painted using a combination of bright and muted colours, will hang in the McMullen Gallery at the University of Alberta Hospital for the next six months.