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Painting celebrating the NHS goes on display at Surgeons' Hall Museums

4 November 2021

Trauma Painting

A painting created during lockdown which celebrates the NHS has gone on display at Surgeons’ Hall Museums in Edinburgh. “Trauma” was created by Dundee based artist and trainee trauma and orthopaedic surgeon Alastair Faulkner.

For several years Faulkner had wanted to create a painting that showcased the different roles involved in delivering patient care within his specialty. In 2020, Faulkner decided to push ahead with his idea and put the idea to some of his colleagues at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. After approaching several of his colleagues, Faulkner started working on the composition of the painting. The team took part in a photoshoot which took inspiration from historical paintings such as “Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp”.  However shortly after, the world was hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, leading the painting to take on a new significance. Faulkner was separated from his loved ones and was only able to see his colleagues at work. He considers the painting to be a record of the unprecedented times we were living in.

Trauma depicts a scene illustrating the multi-disciplinary trauma and orthopaedic team surrounding a patient lying on an operating table about to undergo hip surgery. The figures hold items to signify their roles within the team and their gazes are cantered on the patient directing their focus of care. The skeleton in the background represents orthopaedics and the shrouded figure in the Personal protective Equipment (PPE) to the right of the canvas represents the COVID-19 pandemic when this painting was created.

Faulkner states “I am immensely honoured and proud that this painting which has resonated with so many, and holds a huge personal significance is being displayed at Surgeons Hall to be seen by members of the public.”

The painting has been featured in the online exhibition “Healthcare Heroes” organised by Paintings in Hospitals and in the book “Portraits for the NHS Heroes” published by Bloomsbury.

“Trauma” is currently on display at Surgeons’ Hall Museums, Edinburgh.

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