Gabriella Sancisi made this body of work during a 2 weeks residency at DCH in 1999, 29 May - 2 June. She photographed 20 new born babies on the maternity unit as well as 160 members of staff. 6 of these baby portraits were selected to be presented on a large scale, revealing physical details we are not normally aware of. The babies are the hospitals temporary residents, the patients, the focus of attention and at the heart of the hospitals purpose.
Gabriella Sancisi uses portraiture as a way at looking at groups of people who share a work or leisure activity. Generally speaking her sitters are instructed to stand in a certain way, to look in a certain direction and a photographed from the waist upwards, as busts. The babies in the commission offered a surprising change to her usual mode of working, unconsciously theatrical, they seem to have very individual characters.
Sancisi returned in 2010 to photograph the babies at 10 years old. We tried to contact her in 2020 but unfortunately with no success.
Sancisi has exhibited in the UK and abroad and has work in the British Council Collection and private collections in Italy.
The commission was part of the Arts in Hospital project 'Bringing the Outside in' and was funded through an Arts Council England lottery award.
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We aim to enhance the healing environment for patients, visitors and staff here at Dorset County Hospital, through visual art, performance and music. Please help us to continue and expand our programme by donating. Your donations can be used to commission and purchase new artwork to brighten up the hospital or to fund new participatory projects with professional artists and musicians.