SciArt Intervention Project at Liverpool Tate

News article 28 Nov 2016

The weekend saw an art exhibition developed by the Artist Teachers Association and Liverpool John Moores (LJMU) undergraduate art students, inspired by the science and history of LSTM, displayed at Tate Liverpool.

This exhibition was a culmination of work developed by the artists over the past couple of months.  Over this time they have worked closely with LSTM’s Digital Resources and Collections Manager Sarah Lewis-Newton, Honorary Fellow Meg Parkes and Vector Biology’s postdoctoral researcher Dr Lee Haines who have hosted a number of visits by the artists to LSTM.

During these site visits the artists worked with Sarah, Meg and Lee to investigate the archives, and explored the historical and scientific imagery of LSTM further. In particular Meg Parkes illustrated LSTM’s longest running collaborative project with the former Far Eastern Prisoners Of War (FEPOW), the fascinating medical ingenuity demonstrated by the FEPOWs in South East Asia and their stories of survival. In addition, Dr Lee Haines demonstrated the beauty of the trypanosome parasites within tsetse flies and the patterns, colour and texture seen within insect wings and pupae.

The diverse exhibition on Saturday included sculptural pieces, the use of watercolour, laser-cut acrylic and the thought-provoking use of light and film.  One sculptural piece involved several white laboratory coats with names and drawings of LSTM’s scientists’ favourite parasites drawn on them using SmartWater technology, which was only made visible by shining an ultraviolet light on the coats. In each laboratory coat pocket, a chocolate bar was displayed demonstrating that for less than the cost of a chocolate bar we can provide one person with the treatment and protection against many of the major Neglected Tropical Diseases for a year.  Another striking piece involved an artist being confined within a bed mattress demonstrating the physical and emotional confinement of those suffering from tropical diseases and those men held captive as prisoners of war in South East Asia.

Public Engagement Manager Dr Elli Wright said: “We are delighted to have worked with such a creative group of artists as they explore and interpret LSTM’s past and present research. The SciArt Intervention project has made the work of LSTM accessible to a wider and more diverse audience, and LSTM is looking forward to working with the artists further in the future.”

This project was supported by Curious Minds, Liverpool John Moores University and endorsed by the National Society for the Education of Art and Design.  The Artist Teacher Association is a membership scheme for artists, art teachers, community artists and gallery educators who are committed to developing their contemporary arts practice.