PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 April, 2006, 12:00am

Why arts in hospital?

Arts in Hospital chairman Oscar Ho Hing-kay:

'I was a cancer patient in 1992 and had chemotherapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The treatment was done in a windowless basement with yellowish walls and a really sad atmosphere, with all the patients and relatives. I told myself that if I could make it out, I'd do something about it.

'In 1994, some artists and I painted a mural at the radio-therapy unit at Prince of Wales Hospital and that began Arts in Hospital, where we painted murals in hospitals, especially in children's wards, because the children love it. We also painted pictures on the ceilings of some waiting rooms because lying on a bed waiting for your operation can be scary.

'We now run 190 projects covering all public hospitals. We have also developed other projects such as making children's books and workshops. We estimate that 250,000 people - patients, their relatives and medical workers - have benefited from our projects so far.

'Research suggests that the effect of medical treatment can be strengthen by 30 per cent if art is introduced to patients. When patients feel down, it has a negative impact on people surrounding them. The art also cheers up medical workers, who are under extreme pressure.'

Arts in Hospital exhibition of sun-print photos by patients, Experimental Photo Lab, Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Ends May 21