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Sishu Bhawan gets artistic facelift to be child-friendly

Cuttack, Nov 15: The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics (Sishu Bhawan) here is the leading children’s hospital in the State, has become a child friendly space, thanks to an artistic makeover by Bakul Foundation.

Health Minister Pradeep Kumar Amat and department Secretary Arti Ahuja dedicated the facility on Tuesday.

Bakul Foundation had been invited by the Health Secretary to make Sishu Bhawan into a bright and beautiful place where art has a therapeutic effect on children. The makeover of Medical Ward II (a heritage building) led by Satyabhama Majhi took about two months and was dedicated to children.

This heritage building of Sishu Bhawan, which was once the Governor’s house, is now a place where history meets the contemporary as contemporary art has given a new life to the historical building. The high pillars have taken on colours and the façade itself looks bright and beautiful but its only a teaser for the art works inside.

The painting is in layers just as the halls and faeries on the walls usher us into the magical space inside, which one might forget is a hospital. The room one enters has a play of day and night on the two sides, with one dark and the other light and nursery rhymes describing that written on the walls. The element of children’s play has been interwoven into the paintings. Hence, the play on day and night through paper craft very popular with children is also on the walls.

Similarly, other elements of play such as dice and rubik’s cube have been depicted on the walls inside in a 3D effect along with other illusions for which the nooks of the old building lend themselves beautifully. Inspiration has also come from elements found in the hospital itself like a red balloon with polka dots that a child was playing with.

Each wall was like a painting with its distinctive style such as applique design in one room. In another hall, there are geometric lines that are intended to both soothe and distract patients from the anxious moments and works like a puzzle that they need to figure out. The end result offers “a visual experience that worked a bit like finding your way”. The paintings are a mixture of the real and abstract. There is a child sitting on the back of his mother in one and a geometrical wooden horse in the other. One of the rooms also has aspects of children's art, their pencil drawings and the way they draw figures.

Sishu Bhawan is now not only a hospital for children but a model children’s hospital that will show the way to children’s hospitals in India on how art can alleviate pain and create an entirely different atmosphere for effective and integrated medical care.

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