The Nurses is a visual art installation consisting of 25 bizarre glove puppets. Each in various stages of disrepair: clothing, stitches, stuffing, even faces falling apart. They were created to discuss the decline of the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain. However since presenting them in Denmark, it is clear this is a problem within all health care environments and the work resonates universally.
The puppets are cast, painted and sewn to resemble nursing staff: each has a reversible face, one side a manic smile, desperate to be kind under difficult conditions; the other side a dark frown, depicting the realisation that they do not have the resources to properly care for the sick. Due to reduced funding and the government selling off departments of the British NHS to inexperienced private companies, employees are over stretched and under equipped. They are conflicted as they pursue their vocation to care, whilst being restrained by governmental cutbacks. The nursing and healthcare staff are unable to control the situation. They have no autonomy. They are being controlled and manipulated: just like a puppet.
The installation appears as a series of vignettes in which the nurses are trying to repair one another, mending and rebuilding themselves. One sewing another’s costume, another painting the face of another, some literally holding each other together. Held in these animated poses they contain an uncanny quality, a sense of supernatural life: demanding the audience to imagine narrative and context.
The installation is available for presentation. Please contact us for further information.