Essence Guardians


This artwork, entitled “Essence Guardians”, is part of a collection of 5 pieces created within the scope of a project commemorating the palliative care service of the Portuguese Oncology Institute of Coimbra. The project, called “Cuid’arte”, was an invitation from this service that I accepted with immense honor, allowing me to merge my two worlds: my past as a nurse, especially in the palliative care field, and my present as an artist. It enables the merging of two purposes: creating art with meaning and shedding light on the true nature and importance of palliative care. This artwork follows a chronological order, although not mandatory and not always linear. This is the fourth piece of this “chronology”.

The artwork expresses the constant pursuit of keeping alive our essence and inner flame, even in the face of the adversities of terminal illness. Inspired by the quote by Norman Cousins, which reminds us that the greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live, the illustration reflects on the importance of preserving what truly makes us feel alive. It portrays the action of palliative care together with informal caregivers in protecting this “flame,” even amidst fragility and vulnerability. It’s an invitation to reflect on the essence of existence and the preciousness of each moment lived, emphasizing the importance of nurturing and preserving inner vitality while facing the challenges of life and death.