When artist Rebecca Byrne was asked to transform two gyms within a National Health Service facility for charity Live More, we were delighted to provide materials. The gyms are within St Charles NHS Hospital’s Centre for Health and Wellbeing and give users of the secure psychiatric intensive care unit much needed space to exercise safely.

Wanting to engage the staff and users in the installation, Rebecca set up a workshop to hear their views, before creating designs for the walls. The result can be seen here – two original works of art made to reflect and include the wishes of the people who live and work in the spaces.

Rebecca tells us more “I really believe in the connection between mental health and exercise, so I was thrilled when I was invited to do this. Water Dance was based on the overwhelming request to bring the outdoors in and make it feel like there was some of the natural world in their environment. The themes reflect the lack of access to large open spaces and considers the way the natural world is also in a struggle to survive and adjust to a changing climate. The plant life depicted is based on images of fauna that are under threat but managing to adjust and thrive. I used multi layers of green and yellow Acrylic Ink as I wanted gestural, fluid forms that seem to be coming to life.

For Octagon Foundations I reflected themes of strength, rebirth and new beginnings. Historically, an octagon symbolizes transition and renewal, and that relates to what many of the people here are going through and became the basis for my painting. I used three shades of blue Soft Body for so the colour itself is in transition, and the shapes open up as they rise - carrying you forward.