Monday, March 21, 2016

Brain Tumor Art: Morbid & Fascinating

Art is often used to deflect, diffuse and otherwise help us make emotional sense of horrible events. Examples include memorials at traffic accidents, war memorials and art for domestic violence survivors.

This, however, is the first example I’ve found of the visual art of brain tumors. According to Corrine Segal a PBS News hour post - - “…that’s the surprising beauty of ‘Connecting Narratives,’ artist Dr. Immy Smith’s project to bring new attention to brain tumors and the dangers they pose.

Smith, who studied biomedicine before earning a doctorate in pharmacology, is a artist-in-residence at the Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Portsmouth in the U.K. There, she worked with the lab scientists to develop an exhibition visualizing the often-unseen issue of treating brain tumors.”

Segal goes on to write that “The exhibition, currently on view at the Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, (UK) consists of two parts. For the first, Smith created 121 paintings to represent the more than 120 types of brain tumors that exist. She used two colors meant to symbolize the two types of cells, neural and glial, from which brain tumors can arise. ‘Just as you can make many patterns from just two colors of ink by blending them in different ways or in different amounts, there are many types of brain tumors arising from differential expression of genes in just two cell types,’ she said.”

Her next step was, I thought, quite smart and moving.

“Then, she created large-scale ink drawings to which visitors can add their own lines using white-board markers. Both pieces comment on the complexity of brain tumors, providing a visual reminder of why they are so difficult to treat…”

Here’s her great summary of the cruelty and complexity of brain cancer:

“They’re really devastating diseases. They’re one of the only cancers that can directly affect your cognition and personality…”
Have a look:


amrubicin said...

That's fabulous! Such exhibition will help biology to get rid of its rigid impress in many people's mind. Hope such artist can be more active in the field and bring more products. Chemistry should also be a very good subject for this.

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