VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s art collection recently added the inspired works of Haisla Heiltsuk artist Paul Windsor to its roster, thanks to a generous donation from Larry Garfinkel, owner of Native Northwest, and his family. Garfinkel, who donated a Ben Houstie painting three years ago, is well-known for working with local indigenous artists and commissioned the new pieces to donate to the Foundation.

The nine pieces of acrylic on wood were inspired by Windsor’s belief in art offering a universal message of healing and well-being. At a March 16 event at VGH showcasing his work, the Vancouver-based artist reflected that this collection, completed in 2016, is appropriate for a healing environment like VGH. In his artist’s statement of work, he had his “mind and heart set on creating feelings of happiness and good health through the vibrancy of the colours and the lively physical expressions of mammals, fish, amphibians, and birds.”

Windsor’s own healing came as a result of a stay at VGH in 2003. “I received great care,” he reflected. “Seeing the artwork at VGH, you feel a little more welcome. I hope the same happens with other patients, especially indigenous patients, and that they feel more comfortable.”

Member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould, who attended the March event, spoke about the importance of representing art like Windsor’s. “I’m glad to have been here to celebrate and honour this amazing artwork and to celebrate this moment of truth and reconciliation and the coming together of the rich cultures that exist in British Columbia and across Canada,” she said.

Barbara Grantham, President and CEO of the Foundation, also acknowledged the important work of Windsor and the inclusion of First Nations artists as part of its collection. “Our art collection represents the diversity of the communities and patients we serve,” she said. “Having guests such as Alec Dan, Mavis Pierre, and MP Wilson-Raybould attend our unveiling gives significance to this enriching donation by the Garfinkel family.”

VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s venerable art collection began in 1999 when VGH Art Advisory Committee Chair Roberta Beiser was captivated by the art collection at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles. She brought the idea of curating a collection at VGH to Jim O’Hara, Vice-President of Leadership Giving at the Foundation. Since then, more than 2,000 works have been showcased in the corridors, private units, and courtyards at VGH, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, and various sites within Vancouver Community.

Find out more on how to donate to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation’s Art Collection.