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PROFILE: Darlene McPherson

A Medicine Wheel, showing a woman’s journey from child to teen to young woman to elder, stands at the entrance of RR6, Rehabilitation Hospital. It was created through Darlene McPherson’s involvement with Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA).

Under the guidance of workshop leader, Leah Fontaine, Darlene and several other artists explored their own art and Aboriginal teachings. Darlene created 19 of the 35 canvas boards and created the butterflies and the dragonflies using a variety of techniques including stained glass and embroidery.

At the end of the three-session workshop, Leah presented Darlene with the Medicine Wheel to share with the patients and staff.

Darlene McPherson has worked with AIHM since 2004. She creates artworks at the Arthritis Center at the Rehabilitation Hospital as well as on RR6 at St. Boniface Hospital.

Darlene’s outstanding achievement is her ability to communicate to the patient, their family and staff through her art but also engaging people as they pass by. Her ceiling tiles located in the clinic rooms, serve a twofold purpose, both as a distraction during painful procedures and as appealing visual stimulation. She uses a wide array of colors to bring the canvas alive.

Staff encourage Darlene to volunteer and share her experiences with rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and degenerative disc disease. She understands the complexities of living life with joy while living with RA. Through Darlene’s art, patients receive a message of hope and empowerment.

She also volunteers at St. Boniface Hospital on E4, Geriatric Medicine. Sharing stories, photographs and art while reminiscing with patients, inspires Darlene to create art based on patient’s ideas. This gives them a feeling of accomplishment and raises self esteem.

Darlene’s art has transformed both units into places of beauty. Staff comment on the positive effects of the art not only for the patients, but for themselves.

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