(l to r) Centenie Narusis, pharmacist and donor and Sarinah Haba, artist and pharmacy technician stand beside "Another day in paradise".
When Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) pharmacist Centenie Narusis' father, Keith Soon, was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, she began spending even more time at the hospital. Having worked at VGH since 2007, it felt very different being on the other side of patient care.
“The nurses and surgeons were phenomenal; we were so fortunate," she says. “I really wanted to give back to the hospital in some way because of the excellent care they gave my father."
During her father's illness, Centenie developed an appreciation for the art adorning the hospital's walls. Understanding firsthand the healing power of art, she decided that upon her father's passing she would donate a painting to the hospital in his honour.
“I always knew the art was there, but while I was working I never really took the time to look at it," she reflects. “But during my father's illness, I began to look at it more closely, and it often gave me comfort."
Centenie asked her colleague pharmacy technician Sarinah Haba, who has worked at VGH for 30 years and is a painter in her own right, if she would consider creating a piece.
“I've known her my entire time here," says Centenie. “She's s an exceptional artist so I wanted her to be the one to put my vision on the wall. I felt it would have so much meaning for her to be the artist and to have her work in the hospital."
“I was honoured to do it," says Sarinah.
When choosing the painting's inspiration, Centenie opted for her father's favourite holiday destination: Hawaii. The sandy beaches and tropical colours were a perfect warm way to honour his memory.
“The painting is called, 'Another day in paradise,' because Hawaii was always paradise to him. It made him so happy," she recalls. “And after he was diagnosed with cancer, every day after dinner, he would say, 'Well, [I've lived] another day.' So I put the two together."
“She told me the story of her father and how he loved these Hawaiian flowers," Sarinah recalls. “So I incorporated four into the painting to represent the four children in her family. I wanted to add that personal element."
Centenie donated the piece through the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation's Gifts of Art program.
The painting can be found on the ground floor of Leon Blackmore Pavilion near the main pharmacy. Be sure to stop by and experience, “Another day in paradise."
“I hope that it brightens up our patients' day somehow," Centenie says, “Even if they are very ill, I hope it gives them some comfort."