“Who is the doctor behind the face mask?” asks an animation exploring the history of Britain’s much loved National Health Service.
Made by Russian-born and London-based artist Tribambuka, also known as Anastasia Beltyukova, the video is part of London’s Migration Museum’s new online exhibition, Heart of the Nation. The show tells the stories of migrants who joined Britain’s National Health Service from its foundation in 1948 until today. Its message is clear: migrant medical staff deserve to be acknowledged and respected, whether they came for a better life from Britain’s former colonies or EU states, or whether they have fled war and persecution as asylum seekers.
According to the exhibition, almost half of the number of doctors and a third of the number of nurses in the UK are non-British nationals, or come from a minority ethnic background.
The animation is narrated by British-born children’s author and poet Michael Rosen, descendant from Jewish parents and grandparents, who escaped antisemitism from various areas of Eastern Europe, including what is now Poland, Russia, and Romania. Rosen also recently recovered from coronavirus thanks to NHS treatment.