The Brain Project – I am finally allowed to share it!

The contest

“The Yogen Früz Brain Project [is] a city-wide Toronto art exhibit, [and] is celebrating its fifth year with exciting, thought-provoking works of art that raise awareness about brain health and critical funding for research at Baycrest for Alzheimer’s and related dementias.”

Earlier this year, my proposal got accepted to “The Brain Project” by Yogen Fruz and the Baycrest Foundation in Toronto. I was so excited when I got the acceptance email!

As far as I remember, this is the first time I actually drew out the whole project before making it. My usual practice involves just jotting down some technical details of how to create the artwork, but not drawing out the final project. However, here I had to draw out my entire plan. It was intense! Here is what I originally submitted:

The goal of this exhibition is to communicate the importance of neurological research to the general public. The artists are provided with a brain sculpture and, following their accepted design, are free to show any interpretation of the theme of neurodiversity and mental health. The sculptures are then exhibited in protective cases on the streets of Toronto, and later sold to raise money for the Baycrest Foundation.

The idea – “Connected”

The human brain consists of ~86 billion neurons connected in a sophisticated and intricate manner, allowing us to perform a multitude of physical and intellectual tasks that range from breathing to writing novels. This elaborate network is called the connectome and has been a subject of numerous imaging studies in both rodents and humans. Based on images of the connectome, I decided to use strands of beads to show the beautiful inter-connectedness of the human brain and how important it is for all systems to work in unison. Hence the title – “Connected”.

Here is the original image (flipped) that I used for inspiration.

The Human Connectome – original image source

The process

I started working on it back in early April and have been itching to share my work. But according to the contract, I was limited to showing no more than 20% of the sculpture. Here are some original work in progress shots that I shared here and on my Instagram.

But here is what really happened.

The final “Connected” Brain

I have sent it off to Toronto in May and had been (im)patiently waiting for permission to finally reveal my work. On July 14th it was installed in a building in Toronto and has apparently already gotten a sponsor!

It is so unfortunate that the border is closed… Otherwise, we would have taken a road trip to Toronto for me to see it exhibited and take a final picture with it. But the photo I took with it on the last night before shipping it off is now on my website homepage (I wish we had better lighting)…

Now, if you got this far and like the brain that I have created, could you please do me a HUGE favor? Please visit their website and vote for my sculpture for the People’s Choice Award. Thank you so much!

Art is my emotional outlet and my oasis.  I use art to express my feelings and work through life issues.  Come join me on this journey of letting go of control and letting the creative process take over.  You will get access to all of the behind the scenes footage and see the major breakthroughs that translate into new artwork.

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