Brightening what can be a gloomy place

Nanaimo emergency room to be brightened up with local art

From left

From left

Those waiting the in the new emergency department at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital may find a little more inspiration than they did in the past.

An art collaboration by two local residents called Redemption recently won a contest to be exhibited there: poet and writer Michael Poyntz and photographer Craig Carmichael.

The piece is a crashing wave taken by Carmichael in Tofino along with prose Poyntz took from his poem celebrating U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

The prose reads:

“For every wave that touches the shore… for every heartbeat in the world… we need mankind to be kinder to man.”

One of only 10 pieces selected, Poyntz said he feels Redemption really fits the space.

“The amount of things going on in an emergency ward at any one time are similar to a wave crashing onto a shore,” he said, adding the prose is also fitting.

Carmichael said he feels that his and Poyntz’s work are like a well-suited marriage. Not only does it match up nicely, but the two artists work well together as they are both very passionate about their work, he said.

When Carmichael took the photo in Tofino he spent the day in the rain, and went through three umbrellas and a tripod, he said. But it was worth it.

“There’s something about the crashing of the wave that just hits my heart.”

Carmichael and Poyntz have collaborated on 54 pieces to date and their posters and greeting cards can be found on all B.C. Ferries super ferries and at 25 retail stores from Campbell River to Victoria, including Carmichael’s Island Exposures Gallery in Parksville.

The art piece, which is hung as two distinct art pieces at the hospital, one on top of the other, is featured prominently in the main waiting room.

Poyntz said he’s thrilled that over the next 10 to 15 years thousands of people will sit or walk by the piece and he hopes it eases the strain of that moment in their lives.

Carmichael agreed, saying he also hopes it brings inspiration.

“Hopefully that will give some people some inspiration while they’re sitting there that things are going to happen. That things are going to go on, in a positive way.”

Island Exposures Gallery is located at 5 – 183 West Island Hwy in Parksville. For more information visit


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