When Di Izdebski’s daughter was born, the infant had mild complications from childbirth so the two spent a few days in Lion’s Gate Hospital.
In the tense moments of new parenthood and with a sick child, Di’s eye caught on the mural in the maternity ward: elves, mushroom houses. It was a scene a world away from the hospital.
“I really remember when we were staying there how valuable that scene was to get me out of my head a little bit,” said Di. “It was colorful and positive.
“It impacted my wellbeing during that time in the hospital.”
It made Di want to give back.
More than four years later, the island artist has since painted two murals for BC Children’s Hospital Teck Acute Care Centre and is working on one for BC Children’s Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children (which does specialized care for children with disabilities).
The murals are all painted with Di’s signature bold lines and depict nature: sunlit mountains at dawn, swooping birds, mountain goats, and lots of water and trees.
The Teck murals Di completed in 2017. She had applied through the Children’s Healing Experience Project to create artwork to make the hospital a more comfortable environment for kids, families and staff and was chosen. She did one mural, and then another, and then this year the hospital contacted her again to do the Sunny Hill project, for which Di decided to donate her time.
“I believe so much in having art in hospitals and healing spaces. It’s my way to give back a little bit where I can,” she said.
While the first two murals are full of bright colours, the Sunny Hill painting goes in a more calming direction. Birds fly over a pastel Howe Sound in the concept drawing.
“[I find] the subdued colours and calm water at dawn/dusk around Bowen Island the ideal scene to convey peace and relaxation to children and their families undergoing treatment at Sunny Hill,” said Di. The mural will go up in the centre, which sees children from 250 B.C. and Yukon communities, in August.
“This project is truly the best thing I have ever done with my art,” said Di.