Wash Your Hands Often Please!
Art has the power to change the world. I really believe this.
We each live within our own microcosms of health issues and big challenges but we also live within a numbing macrocosm of larger global health issues that require our attention because if left unchecked, life as we know it would be consumed. Literally!
As an artist, I think one of my responsibilities is to bring to light and create a presence, a space, to some of those things I question, that I’m curious about or that I understand either from lots of research(I love to research!) or from first hand experience and want to explore deeper.
If, through some of my work, I can manage to engage you by opening your eyes to something you had no idea about, to look at something from a different perspective, shined a light on a subject you are curious about, opened your heart to actually feel something, made you question a preconceived notion, to name a few, then I have done my job.
If you, the viewer, have shared your opinions, perceptions, outlooks and thoughts with me, you have made me grow that much more and made my day for sure! Your feedback is always a gift.
This piece started to conceptualize as I kept hearing about large global epidemics stemming from challenging life conditions, as well as life threatening diseases endemic to sterile(or so I thought)hospital settings.
Disease affects the lives of millions and millions of people. Diseases such as: ebola, zika, cholera, influenza, meningitis, sars, MRSA and other life-threatening, drug-resistant super bugs.
On global diseases we often hear that filthy conditions, overpopulation, contaminated food and water, animal migrations and other big problems are the reasons why epidemics start and to a point, one could almost see why certain areas in the world can develop widespread epidemics. But in a hospital setting? How could this be possible when hygiene, trained professionals and sterile conditions supposedly permeate the hospital landscape?
Well, 8 years ago, I fell victim to a drug resistant super bacterial bug in a world leading hospital. A supposedly impeccable and safe space. Cross-contamination occurred because a caregiver did not wash their hands after going to the bathroom. I was lucky to have an incredible, wise doctor and I pulled through obviously but, for the rest of my life, I will live with the consequences of one careless, seemingly insignificant act of one person who neglected to do the small thing of washing their hands while handling my case under intensive care.
No worries. Life is good and I celebrate everyday as a new day. Everyday is a gift full of new insights and inspirations!
Having said that, tiny actions have big consequences right! Good health doesn’t come free and if you are healthy you can appreciate your gift. Disease is widespread but at least from my view, we each have a hand in either letting it roam freely or halting it.
Whether one is a health professional, a health advocate, a patron or just a citizen living one’s daily life, we each have the capability of making responsible decisions.
This 9’x3’ assemblage I title “Cocci, Bacilli and Spirilla” hangs the 3 basic bacterial shapes in a waterfall-like assemblage painted in golds and reds. Interspersed among them, hang large pieces of glass dripped with red and gold ink.
To detect disease, blood smears are microscopically studied. To obtain smears, often, many uncomfortable and sometimes painful labs have to be done to ensure correct diagnosis. The glass represents not only the obvious blood smear slides but symbolically, as in other work I have done, glass represents the strength, weakness and resilience of the human body.
The interlocking of the bacteria shapes come together to organize and repair the damage. The waterfall-like effect symbolizes the power and magnitude of some of these diseases and how they can bring you down quickly and ultimately terminate you. Why hanging? Because for just one fleeting minute, I felt like hanging the careless person responsible for my perilous predicament. Just being honest.
The gold color is a powerful and healing color in my life and the reds/pinkish tones represent the color of blood which means life flows if it’s kept healthy.
On a last note, someone recently asked me what each bacterial element represented and I realized that each piece is a reminder that it only takes one single bacterium to start a colony so at least please remember to wash your hands often!
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Musings of a curious mind
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