Monday, September 26, 2022

Art explores grief and the beauty of short life in Queensland’s only children’s hospice


The image is haunting.

The two figures are intertwined on the ground. One is clearly an adult, the other a child.

The black and white silence is shaking.

Viewers may wonder about the meaning of the picture but for Caitlin Cole, its purpose is very clear.

It is part of his new role as the custodian of his late son’s memory.

Ms Cole and other families are part of a new exhibition called My Little Sunshine Stories, photographs and audio collected by artist Naveen Samuel Reggie over four years working with families and staff at Hummingbird House, Queensland’s only children’s hospice is a collection of.

Tree decorated with materials, toys, pictures
Remembrance tree at Hummingbird House Children’s Hospice.,Supplied by: Naveen Samuel Reggie,

a short life was good

Ms Cole described her son, Rory Bakker, who died in 2019 at the age of 12, as “red-headed, a little pleased”.

“He was the kid who always liked to smile. He loved to live, even though he couldn’t do everything that everyone else could do in life,” she recalled.

At 26 weeks pregnant, Ms. Cole had symptoms of infection and high blood pressure.

Ms Cole told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Loretta Ryan that a scan showed her baby Had a stroke.

“He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, he had chronic lung disease, and there were hopes Rory wouldn’t come through.

“Then we were referred to palliative care a few years later. I think we were officially referred to the Hummingbird House as one of the first clients of the home.”

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Brisbane photographer helps grieving parents through their toughest moments
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Hummingbird House is Queensland’s only children’s hospice and provides specialized pediatric palliative care to babies, toddlers and young people with life-limiting conditions.

Families can choose to spend time in a purpose-built home in Brisbane, or in their own home or community.

red head boy with nose tube
Rory suffered a stroke before he was born and had several health problems in his short life.,Supplied by: Caitlin Cole,

Spotlight on Death, Palliative Care

Ms Cole was expecting some “really cool family photos” and when Mr Reggie asked if she would be a part of his project, she “jumped at the chance”.

“I’ll admit when I first walked in [exhibition] Space I burst into tears and lost it a little bit,” she said.

woman standing with a sheet on her face and body
Ms. Cole wants to highlight the importance of after-death care in Australia.,Supplied by: Naveen Samuel Reggie,

That haunting black-and-white image of Ms. Cole and her son is her favorite piece in the exhibit.

“I was given the opportunity to watch out for Rory after he passed away,” she said.

Toy mower pointing at the child's hand
Picture of a toy mower and child’s hand from the My Little Sunshine Stories exhibit.,Supplied by: Naveen Samuel Reggie,

“It seemed like every bird in Brisbane came and said goodbye to him. And there’s a picture of him and me on the ground.

artist’s privileged work

young man with dark hair and beard
Mr. Reggie says it is an honor to be working with the Hummingbird House families.,Supplied by: Naveen Samuel Reggie,

When Mr Reggie saw the death of someone he was caring for, he said he “began to question my reaction to my own grief”.

He said the Hummingbird House project gave him a priceless insight into the near-death experience.

“Instead of telling people what to do and you know, putting the camera in front of their faces and taking a photo, it’s really a collaboration,” he said.

“It’s about telling stories, trying to figure out the best way to tell that story through an image and an audio recording.

“And it’s an incredible honor to be in that place and trust that story.”

woman's hand with a bracelet touching the coffin
Mr. Reggie spent four years meeting and photographing families for the My Little Sunshine Stories exhibit.,Supplied by: Naveen Samuel Reggie,

The name My Little Sunshine Stories came about when two families started singing Jimmy Davis tunes to their children.

The content of Mr. Reggie’s exhibition is something Fiona Hawthorne sees every day, but the photography and sounds still take her breath away.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.

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