Celebrating 20 Years at Westmead

Bear Cottage

About the photographer: Natalie Koval


Natalie Koval was given her first camera at the age of eleven from her grandparents to document her future in Australia. From that point onwards, photography took on a new and exciting meaning for her.

Natalie's European background later gave influence to her visual style as she pursued her interest further. She attained a TAFE diploma in Photography as well as completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at UNSW Art & Design.

Creative Statement

Coming in to this project, I felt nervous, to say the least. The saying, ‘What we don’t see, doesn’t matter,’ applied to me.

I ventured through Bear Cottage, passing walls and rooms bursting with colour and patterns. There were drawings, musical instruments and toys of all sizes wherever we went. Bear Cottage felt homely and happy.

There was no sense of sadness, loss or loneliness that I expected, and this was reflected on the faces of the people who worked and volunteered there on a weekly or a daily basis.

Their vision is to be as far removed from the Hospital environment as possible and I believe that they fulfill this vision.