Behind the scenes of ‘A Slice of History’

Manchester artist Lindi Kirwin takes us behind-the-scenes to share the journey of how our 50th birthday art installation came to life...

By News Team on June 15, 2021

Artist Lindi holding a painted wooden frame around her head, smiling and looking at the camera

My connections with St Ann’s

“I was born in Bowdon, Cheshire in 1959 and have lived in the North West of England all my life. I have painted, crafted and designed since childhood. After many years in health and education, while working parallel in my art career, I feel blessed to now be a full-time selling artist for the Private, Commercial and Public sectors throughout the country.

“My connections with St. Ann’s Hospice are varied. I remember my lovely dad feeling so proud and privileged to be a volunteer driver at Heald Green for many years, assisting patients.

“Then, when my dad was in hospital, we tried in vain to transfer him to St Ann’s but he was too weak to travel and sadly passed away before he had the chance to go. My mum gave me his volunteer driver ID badge which I treasure.”

Lindi's dad's volunteer ID badge, with the landyard in the shape of a heart.

“Before I knew him, my husband lived right opposite the Hospice in Heald Green and in 1971, he and his two brothers sat on their garage roof, watching history before their very eyes as HRH The Queen Mother attended the opening ceremony.

“Being in a pandemic, I knew that essential funds would be challenged for all charities. It seemed poignant that I should paint a large portrait of Florence Nightingale; the visionary nurse who was instrumental in improving care for others. I pledged to donate £500.00 to St Ann’s upon its sale; it did sell and touchingly now resides in Lea, Derbyshire, where Florence grew up.”

The installation celebrates fifty years of care for the people of Manchester. I came up with many ideas and drawings, but I kept coming back to the cake because it symbolises birthdays and gathering of friends and family. I’ve called my installation ‘A Slice of History’ to recognise the fact that St Ann's was one of the pioneering hospices in the UK. Lindi Kirwin
Artist Lindi Kirwin stand behind a giant 3D triangular cake slice, covered with blue metal forget-me-not flowers.

Bringing it to life

“On every level, I knew my cake would need to pass risk assessment regulations as it would be exhibited in a public building with a viewing audience, so I was very mindful at getting all these hurdles approved. It was important to construct a framework that was lightweight, yet strong enough to support the hundreds of metal forget-me-nots that would be displayed on it. It also needed to be easily transportable, so I made the cake in wedge-shaped sections which would be easy to assemble at The Trafford Centre.

“Our kitchen, utility room, garage and garden has been turned into one busy workshop. I painted the exposed slices of the cake in my studio to look like sponge and jam and then I put ‘St Ann’s 50th Birthday’ on to show people what we’re celebrating.

“There’s a candle in the centre of the cake which is linked to an electronic collection box so that when money is donated into it, the candle’s flame will light up. I’m hoping that this will entice a bit of fun and encourage more donations.”

It feels so good to be exhibiting my installation at The Trafford Centre in Manchester, where I know everyone who visits will wholeheartedly celebrate St Ann’s 50 years of care. Through making donations and buying one of the flowers, our community can support St Ann’s to continue providing the highest quality palliative care. Lindi Kirwin
Artist Lindi holding a painted wooden frame around her head, smiling and looking at the camera
A sketch in pencil of the cake sculpture, with labels and details for each different feature