Eye-catching sculpture marks three decades of hospice

Artist Sarah Jayne Palmer with Shreya Naik aged 9 pictured inside the sculpture. Picture by Simon Hulme
Artist Sarah Jayne Palmer with Shreya Naik aged 9 pictured inside the sculpture. Picture by Simon Hulme

AN INFLATABLE sculpture which includes the artwork of 300 school children from across Yorkshire has gone on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park to mark the 30th anniversary of Martin House Hospice.

The Butterfly and the Bird is designed to be an interactive multi-use space and incorporates animation alongside the children’s work.

It was the idea Alison Wragg, a senior community fundraiser at the Wetherby hospice, who worked with Sheffield artist Sarah Jane Palmer, children, and the hospice’s own artist to create the piece.

Alison said: “I wanted something that would be eye-catching and invite conversation, and I had seen how much people engaged with outside art during the Tour de France Grand Depart, so I wondered if we could do something on a large scale.

“Martin House was originally named for the house martins which nested in the roof eaves, and the symbol of the children’s hospice movement is the butterfly. One of Sarah’s motifs is the butterfly, so there was an instant synergy. Working with Sarah has been a pleasure; she understood immediately what we wanted to achieve and came up with practical and inspirational ideas.”

Sarah worked with Martin House artist Helen Scouller, children, young people and their families to develop the overall concept of the inflatable artwork, which has been made by Spacecadets Air Design in Todmorden.

Workshops were also held at nine schools across the region to create a butterfly animation which will be projected inside the structure.

Sarah said: “Martin House wanted something that could be a sculpture, but something that would also raise awareness and could be taken into the community. I immediately thought of an inflatable structure, because it is portable and has multiple uses.”

Martin House opened in August 1987, and provides care and support to children and young people with life-limiting conditions throughout West, North and East Yorkshire.

Over the last three decade, Martin House has care for more than 2,000 families.

The inflatable will used at events to mark the anniversary across the region.

Alison said: “We hope it will raise awareness, prompt curiosity and dispel myths about children’s hospices, and will be something we can use for many years to come.”