In times of crisis, art has always been a powerful medium to convey emotions, tell stories, and honour those who have selflessly dedicated themselves to the well-being of others. As the world navigated through the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the efforts of healthcare workers stood out as a beacon of hope and resilience.
Recognising their contributions, well known West Australian artists Denise Pepper and Matt McVeigh wanted to create an inspiring artwork that not only captured the resilience and compassion of these individuals, but also served as a symbol of gratitude from the community.
Titled Safeguard, the sculpture consists of two illuminated plinths set 1.5m apart, memorialising the COVID-safe social distance. One plinth supports a sculptural representation of a frontline health-care worker, cloaked in a metal veil laser-cut with medical crosses. The other plinth displays an illuminated set of four colourful translucent acrylic forms, intended to symbolise community.
“The cross in the context of this tribute sculpture provides a veil of protection referencing health care especially the health workers themselves, vaccination, the significance of PPE and masks and need to maintain physical distance from each other.
“The health care workers themselves are the selfless frontline warriors in combating COVID who poignantly have become faceless through the importance of wearing masks,” said Ms Pepper.
BCJ Plastic Products were thrilled when the artists approached their team to collaborate in bringing the vision for this memorial to life. With over 40 years’ experience in plastic manufacturing, BCJ Plastic Products were excited to provide insights into the feasibility of the artists’ concepts and to ensuring the final piece would be durable and captivating.
“I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with BCJ Plastic Products as an artist on multiple occasions, and I must say that my experience with them has been positive each time.
“The team at BCJ has consistently demonstrated professionalism and a deep knowledge of their craft, from the initial concept stage all the way to the final manufacture of my projects.
“My experience on finished works that they completed on schedule and with an agreed quality finish,” said Ms Pepper
“I would recommend BCJ Plastic Products to any artist or creative professional seeking a reliable and capable partner for their projects,” added Ms Pepper.
Through combined artistic prowess and innovative use of materials, artists Denise Pepper and Matt McVeigh, working with BCJ Plastic Products, have transformed emotions and gratitude into a tangible, visually arresting art piece. This creative endeavour not only honours the dedication of healthcare workers but also exemplifies the profound impact that art can have in conveying heartfelt messages during times of adversity.
The Safeguard can be found at the Don Bennet Park, City of Nedlands.
Denise Pepper is an established West Australian artist whose career has spanned 30 years, including significant works for Sculpture by the Sea in Cottesloe and Bondi.