A New Glass Art Installation
at Royal Hobart Hospital
by Keith Dougall
Catching Your Breath is a powerful symbol of life, refreshment and hope. Suspended in the new K-Block reception area of Royal Hobart Hospital, the artwork is comprised of over 300 human breaths captured from patients, visitors and staff, and sealed into uniquely shaped hand-blown glass bubbles. The ‘breath bubbles’ have been grouped into seven large ‘bundles of breath’ supported in woven stainless steel nets that appear like giant refreshing rain drops, or tears, descending from heaven.
Together the bundles form a rich symbolic picture of the complex communities of people that form around each patient to help lift them to higher levels of health and well-being. The work recognises the unique beauty, fragility, resilience and value inherent in all human life, and the valuable contributions that the many seen and unseen figures of the hospital community bring each day.
Like fishing nets crammed full and bursting with life, Catching Your Breath silently acknowledges the age-old truth that ‘We’re all in this together’, whilst celebrating the uniqueness and diversity of each individual. It beckons viewers to take a moment - to stop, reflect and ‘catch their breath’ as they contemplate and give thanks for the wonder and gift of life.
The Catching Your Breath website stands as a companion to the physical artwork and contains fascinating glimpses into the lives and hopes of each person who donated their breath into the glass breath bubbles. Here you’ll find written words, photos and videos that tell the story of the making of the artwork as well as a page dedicated to each participant, including their written responses and the position of their breath bubble in the artwork.
Find a Breath Donor's Story
Use the search bar above to search by name or bubble number, or browse the many contributors on the Breath Donor pages, or simply click on a photo below to get started.
Acknowledgement of Country
The artist would like to pay respect to the traditional and original owners of the land on which RHH and this artwork stands - the muwinina (mou wee nee nar) people - to pay respect to those that have passed before us, and to acknowledge today’s Tasmanian Aboriginal community who are the custodians of this land and who have graciously contributed their breath to this artwork.