ANATOMY & BEYOND
Mara G. Haseltine
Mara G. Haseltine is an international artist, a pioneer in the field of SciArt, and an environmental activist and educator. Haseltine collaborates with scientists and engineers to create work that addresses the link between our cultural and biological evolution. She was a pioneer in the translation of scientific data and bioinformatics into three-dimensional sculptures and became known for her outsized renditions of microscopic and sub-microscopic life.
In the exhibition ANATOMY & BEYOND the maquette of Maras’ work “SARS Inhibited” is on display. The original sculpture (12 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 9 feet tall) emerges from a reflecting pool in the courtyard of the central plaza of Singapore’s Biotech Mecca “Biopolis.” SARS Inhibited for all its sinuous beauty is made of cast bronze coated with a shimmering red coating.
Photo from www.calamara.com
The installation celebrates the ground-breaking drug discovery by an international team in 2002–2003, including Singapore scientists, with the potential to save lives of people infected by the SARS virus by stopping the virus from self-replicating. Like Covid-19, SARS is caused by coronavirus, SARS-CoV-1. Paving stones that mimic the outer shape of the drug nestles into a cleft between two parts of the structure. A person strolling through the sculpture symbolically represents the healing action of the drug.
The work has immediate resonance with our troubles today. So close are the proteases of the SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, that the same drug inhibits both viruses. The drug depicted by SARS Inhibited is the precursor of drugs currently being tested for their ability to prevent and cure Covid-19.
In this installation of the maquette of SARS Inhibited, a skeleton strides through the sculpture, representing humanity and its ever-evolving relationship to viruses and the microscopic world.
On 25 August, the Anatomy Museum hosted the international symposium ANATOMY & BEYOND. You can watch a recording of Mara G. Haseltine lecture "Exploring the Link Between Our Cultural & Biological Evolution through Art : in the Anthroprocene Age" here:
The exhibition ANATOMY & BEYOND will be on view at the Anatomy Museum until 31 January. The exhibition is curated by medical artist Pascale Pollier (Belgium/UK). The exhibition is a collaboration between AEIMS (Association Européenne des Illustrateurs Medicaux et Scientifiques), BIOMAB (Biological and Medical Art in Belgium), ARSIC (Art Researches Science international Collaborations) and MAA (The Medical Artists' Association of Great Britain). The project is supported by the Embassy of Belgium in Sweden and Latvia, the Flemish Government Representation in Poland and the Baltic States, the Vesalius Trust and the Honorary Consul of Belgium in Latvia Dr. Didzis Gavars.