Cancer patients being treated at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust will be displaying their artwork at a new exhibition called ‘It’s not about the art’.

Light in the darkness - Maria Barratt

The exhibition will take place from 23rd April to 2nd May 2016 at The Old Parsonage in Didsbury. A special preview night will be held on 22nd April.

All proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to The Christie charity which funds the art room for patients at the specialist cancer centre. 

The Christie charity works hard to provide specialist staff and supportive services which can help patients through their cancer experience. The art room, based at the main site in Withington, delivers art sessions for patients and carers several times each week. 

The idea was brought about by artist in residence, Pat Mountford, who is fully funded by The Christie charity and who runs the sessions which provide a space to explore creativity away from the daily pressures of life including living with cancer. 

Pat said; "I believe every hospital should have an art room. When a patient walks through the doors often they can be dealing with lots of difficult situations besides the illness. This can leave a person feeling frightened, very vulnerable and lacking in confidence. Sitting in the art room, meeting people in a similar situation, forgetting about everything else, doing something creative that you didn’t know you could do is incredibly empowering.

It’s not about the art, yet it’s everything about the art. 

The Didsbury Parsonage Trust very kindly donated the exhibition space and I am absolutely delighted that we are able to show case the paintings at such a fabulous venue as The Old Parsonage. Patients, carers, volunteers and members of Christie staff have all donated their paintings to help raise funds for the art room. I would like to thank everyone for all their wonderful support."

Highland Garden - Shamim Chaudhry

Shamim Chaudhry, 57, from Stockport, an ovarian cancer patient at The Christie, said; "I would never have believed that when I came to the clinic here at The Christie, that I would be painting, I had never done anything creative before.

"From the beginning I have felt sheer joy from coming to the art class, a place where I feel safe at a time when I have felt so vulnerable.  When I am in the art room I feel emotionally supported and nurtured.

Never did I think that my paintings would be in an exhibition, I feel so elated and overwhelmed, it is so exciting I can’t believe it.

Maria Barratt, 51, from Sale, who is being treated for stage three breast cancer at The Christie said; "When I first came to the art room I didn’t know if the art would help me, after the first session I left feeling so much more relaxed, the stresses and strains that are so often accompanied by treatment had floated away.

"After the first day there was a total difference in me, when I arrived home I felt I could tackle more and do more. It has given me a purpose. I always liked art I just didn’t realize I had a talent, which makes me feel so elated. When I’m home I think about how soon I can return to the class and carry on with my painting.

Here in the art room I feel safe. I’ve had some counselling over the years but nothing compares with how I feel here. 
Having my work in the exhibition and at such a fabulous venue is exciting, I can’t believe it I’m just overwhelmed and buzzing.

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust through its fundraising activities, and delivers projects, equipment and improvements that are in line with the Trust’s overall plans and strategy. The charity has over 40,000 supporters who raised a record breaking £15.8m in 2015/16.