Kindred and Sir Quentin Blake: celebrating children of all abilities with The Five of Us
Kindred are delighted to be celebrating children of all abilities with a new exhibition and film based on Sir Quentin Blake’s colourful tale of ‘The Five of Us’. The exhibition was created especially for display at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh, in partnership with Tonic Arts of NHS Lothian Charity. The joyful accompanying storytelling film is a truly collaborative effort, featuring staff from the hospital and its charity partners as well as patient families. We hope that families in the hospital will be able to take a moment away from their caring responsibilities to enjoy the exhibition.
Quentin Blake’s work, as one of the nation’s favourite and most successful author-illustrators, often demonstrates inclusive storytelling. ‘The Five of Us’ was chosen as the subject of the exhibition as it reminds us the world is a better place when we allow everyone’s abilities to shine, and concentrate on what we can do together rather than what we can’t.
Above: Sir Quentin Blake ©Linda Kitson
Kindred’s association with Quentin Blake goes back to 2001 when the organisation, then known as SNIP (Special Needs Information Point) won the Quentin Blake Award from the Roald Dahl Foundation. Part of the award was the design of the SNIP bird which became our logo. Quentin’s bird was brought back when we celebrated 30 years of supporting parents of children with complex needs. (You can see the original logo towards the bottom of this page).
The exhibition is the first at the hospital created with children in mind: with large images of the story’s pages telling the full journey taken by our heroes in ‘The Five of Us’ . In contrast, there is also a chance to see three signed prints of the original artwork which Sir Quentin has generously donated to the hospital.
Showing at the Tonic Gallery, in the Dott Corridor of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh, from Saturday 1st July, we’re delighted that the exhibition and film will be available to view in time for the 75th NHS Anniversary celebrations on the 5th July, and will run until November 2023.
Dr Len McCaffer, Tonic Arts Programme Manager told us:
“We are delighted to work with Kindred to bring this beautiful Quentin Blake exhibition to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. The hospital environment can almost become a second home to a lot of patients, families, visitors and staff, so making it as comfortable and welcoming as possible is really important for emotional and physical wellbeing.
The partnerships formed through our NHS Lothian Charity’s Tonic Arts programme enable us to deliver diverse, creative exhibitions that enhance clinical settings and improve wellbeing across NHS Lothian. This partnership with Kindred showcases Sir Quentin Blake’s captivating work and will provide a sense of joy, comfort, and momentarily give a sense of freedom and distraction to patients, their loved ones and staff. We are particularly excited to see the accompanying film of staff and families reading Quentin Blake’s book ‘The Five of Us’.”
Allister Short, Director for Women and Children’s Services, NHS Lothian said:
“Across the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People we have a wealth of fantastic artwork which not only creates a wonderful environment but provides welcome joy and distraction for patients and their loved ones. We are delighted with this new exhibition and look forward to seeing many of our young patients enjoy it.”
Kindred would like to thank Sir Quentin for allowing us to feature his book in our exhibition and film and to his team for their support.
After watching the film, Quentin Blake’s team told Kindred:
It is wonderful to see The Five of Us read and enjoyed by all those who took part in the film and made it possible. We think you are all AMAZING!
Above: Ailsa, a star storyteller with her mum and sister ©Chris Lewis Cook, 2023
One of our storytellers Ailsa, aged 9, told us about taking part in our film:
It was such a fun experience. I was really happy to be one of the readers!”
You can see the film with Ailsa and all our other storytellers either at the hospital on the screen in the Tonic Gallery, or watch online if you can’t wait.
We were delighted Bouygues E&S Solutions Ltd gave a donation to this collaborative project, so we could give copies of ‘The Five of Us’ to all the wards and the hospital’s The Little France School, and to our 21 storytellers as a thank you for their participation.
We also would like to thank Tate Publishing for their permission to feature The Five of Us © Quentin Blake, Tate Publishing (2014) in the exhibition and film and assistance with creating this wonderful project.
Above: The original drawing of the bird logo designed by Sir Quentin in 2001, including his own amendments in pen and correction fluid made before sending (actual size approx 5 cm by 5 cm) © by Quentin Blake for Kindred/SNIP 2001
Above: the colourful certificate of the Quentin Blake Award from the Roald Dahl Foundation to our charity in 2001
Above: Sir Quentin’s bird drawn for Kindred when known as Special Needs Information Point, SNIP, (left) and Kindred’s new logo (centre), and how our bird was brought back during our 30th anniversary (right)
Thank you for your interest in our exhibition and film project – we hope that if you are at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People you will be able to have the chance to see and enjoy both.