When the pandemic hit, the staff of the National Maternity Hospital quickly moved to create a safe environment for women who might have contracted the virus to give birth safely. They set up a COVID-19 ward and a special team of staff. In Jeanette Lowe’s photograph Preparing for COVID, staff do a walkthrough of the facilities and systems in place prior to it being used.
The National Maternity Hospital is the largest maternity hospital in Ireland. It was established in 1894 in Holles St. in Dublin, where it still resides in a 1930s building built by funds from the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes. Often the juxtaposition of the most up to date technology can seem strange in this old building with narrow corridors and stairwells and some multi-bed wards. Curtains and Windows references the blue curtains seen throughout the hospital and the midwife literally with her head inside a computer screen.
What might be considered the most natural thing in the world, childbirth increasingly involves medical staff engaging in technology in the course of their working day. In Working with their Hands, we see staff in the Neo-Natal department surrounded by technology with the star of the show hardly visible – a tiny newborn in an incubator.
99% Working with their Hands - National Maternity Hospital
Jeanette Lowe is a visual artist from Dublin who works mainly through photography and installation. Her work has been exhibited in Ireland and internationally, notably at the National Portrait Gallery, London, The Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and in the USA. As a fifth-generation Dubliner, she is passionate the city and its inner-city communities. She is probably best known for her projects "Village in the City" (2009 - present) that focused on the people of Pearse House Flats in Dublin and “Demolishing Dublin” which recorded the demolition of social housing flats in the city and most recently "The Invisible Front Line". Jeanette is currently the Artist in Residence at the National Maternity Hospital, Holles St., Dublin and continues to work on her personal projects