This is the final piece for my Warwickshire Open Studios group show at UHCW, here in Coventry. My best friends were the muses. The idea was to celebrate nursing – a profession that, quite literally, has brought people from different parts of the world to work together and care for patients in our National Health Service. By showcasing their portraits, I wanted to celebrate the diversity within the profession.

Fortunately, after the two-week open studios, the show links in and transitions over onto the hospital’s Summer Exhibition called Healing Arts. I did this last winter. I feel greatly honoured to be a part of this year’s Summer Healing Arts. My works will, therefore, be on show till September this year!

‘Sisters’ took approximately 100 hours of making time, but the journey is all worth it. The title is a double entendre,  I suppose. It connotes the fact that my friends are both wearing “nursing sisters'” uniforms. Here in the UK’s NHS, nurse leaders are called “sisters”. This is a mark of professional achievement, and I am proud of what they have achieved in their work. Simultaneously, as fellow Filipinos, I consider them my sisters, in the context of how we have made a cohesive community over the years, maintaining friendships and supporting each other in times of need, when away from our primary families. Such relationships are common, not just in nursing, but across the health service and beyond. In a way, these relationships and communities are less often talked about and acknowledged as a positive energy in the local community. My work, hopefully, highlights this positively.

It is my biggest project so far. Portraiture will, hopefully, become a mainstay in my body of work. Although, time-consuming and labour intensive, it does make the quilling more alive somehow. I like how the single bits of spindle-shaped quills flicker with movement, when they complete the whole picture. There is an element of experimentation with the colours. I like this way of working because it is freer, more liberating. It is finally all framed and hung for the show. Here is how it looked in the final ‘hang’ with the rest of the works.

Now that they are all on show, for some reason, the nerves have kicked in. I do feel pride in my work, but human emotions get the better of us in these moments. Here’s to hoping for a good show this Summer 2019!