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Murals inspire hope in time of hardship

By ZHANG KUN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-04 07:38

Medical worker Chen Qin and a young patient paint a mural during a break at the makeshift hospital for COVID-19 treatment at the Shanghai New International Expo Center on Sunday. CHINA DAILY

The artistic murals and paintings in the makeshift hospital for COVID-19 treatment at Shanghai New International Expo Center (SNIEC) have become popular among the medical workers and patients alike for inspiring a sense of hope during what has been a difficult time.

The project was started by members of the medical team from Zhongnan Hospital Affiliated to Wuhan University in Hubei province. The hospital, together with several fellow institutions from Wuhan, is in charge of the W wing of the makeshift hospital at SNIEC.

Starting from a wall that separates the wards for patients in serious condition and others, the art showcase has expanded to more public spaces, turning the cold white walls into colorful billboards of hope.

On one stretch of wall, medical staff in their white protective suits, social workers with loudspeakers and couriers delivering vegetables are depicted in vivid brush strokes. Other daubs include those of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai and Huanghelou Tower, a landmark building in Wuhan.

Created by the doctors and nurses themselves, the paintings have become a popular place for people to take photos. Some patients have joined in and written supportive messages and words of gratitude for the staff.

According to Li Zhiqiang, vice-director of Zhongshan Hospital and head of the hospital's medical team in Shanghai, his team of 71 members have been in the city for almost a month working to fight the current outbreak of COVID-19. "We decided to put on such a show of art to help our staff to relax, and alleviate the patients' anxiety," he said.

A 71-year-old man surnamed Zhang wrote on the wall wishing Labour Day to the "medical angels in white".

"I've felt very warm at heart and well cared for by the medical staff from Zhongnan Hospital," Zhang said. "I admire their courage heading to the outbreak of the epidemic, leaving their family and everything behind."

One of the nurses, Xin Ying, worked at the Leishenshan makeshift hospital in Wuhan two years ago. "There are lots of white walls separating different zones in a facility like this," she said.

"We can decorate the hospital with murals on the walls, and we invite patients to paint together with us. This has proven very much effective in alleviating people's anxiety."

Another member of the medical team, Tong Li, visited Shanghai during the World Expo 2010.

"I was impressed with the beauty of the city at that time," she recalled. "I have built lots of emotional connections, and a great level of trust with many people in Shanghai during the work in the makeshift hospital. I believe the epidemic will soon go away, as long as we work hard together."

Shanghai has been registering a decline in its daily tally of new infections over the past week.

The city reported 274 confirmed cases and 5,395 asymptomatic cases on Monday, its lowest for the past month.

Xing Yi contributed to the story.

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