When I began thinking about creating this painting for Your Brain on Art for the Branch Out Foundation, I knew I wanted to incorporate a portrait. After learning that this specific project was focusing on the effects of the gut/brain immune response, I decided to expand my piece to be more figurative. The focus is on the correlation between genes and environment in treating MS and Stroke. So much of what I included was symbolic...from the colours that represent stroke (red), MS (yellow) and gut (blue) to the circular shapes represented in the slides that were shared with me and also the cyclical or top-down/bottom-up nature of the effects food we eat on our stomach (also known as the second brain) and brain that was discussed.I wanted this painting to be a physical, human representation of a scientific event. Seeing the vulnerability of a person looking down at the red apple and knowing how your diet can affect brain health.
During my conversation with the Dr. Maryam Faiz and Emerson Daniele, the image of a flower came up and I chose to include it in both the background and also in the pattern on the dress, exchanging the black roses, moths & beetles on the original dress with images of microglia as they account for 10-15% of all cells in the brain and act as the main form of immune defense and brain maintenance. To me they also resemble the bachelor's buttons that grow in my garden.