Developed in conjunction with two Permian Basin physicians and a group of international artists, Healing Blade features stunning portrayals of bacteria depicted as dreaded foes and antibiotics as valiant heroes locked in an epic struggle within the mythical world of Soma, representing medicine’s ongoing battle against infectious disease and antibiotic resistance.
“The Healing Blade exhibition, which is an artistic expression of bacteria and the antibiotics that eradicate them, is an attempt to bring the struggle for dominance over bacteria to the forefront of the public eye. Through images and an accompanying educational narrative it seeks to bring the battle between antibiotics and bacteria to life through fantasy art,” states Dr. Arun Mathews, co-creator of Healing Blade and Chief Information Officer for Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, TX. The battle Mathews is referring to exists due to the growing issue of resistance and the emergence of “superbugs”
A report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) in April of 2014 reveals “resistance to common bacteria has reached alarming levels in many parts of the world indicating that many of the available treatment options for common infections in some settings are becoming ineffective. Furthermore, systematic reviews of the scientific evidence show that ABR [antibacterial resistance] has a negative impact on outcomes for patients and health-care expenditures.”[
The medical explanation of resistance can be very complex, making it difficult for the general public to understand. The Ellen Noël Art Museum hopes to help with this issue by using imagery to portray real world bacteria and antibiotics. “For example: Staph Aureus exudes a golden pigment when cultured on plates (Aureus from Aureum /Latin= Gold). This pigment protects the bacteria from natural human defenses. This is depicted as an image of a Dragon with thick golden scales. Similarly relevant attributes characterize the antibiotic heroes,” says Mathews of the images displayed throughout the exhibit.
Healing Blade: Fantasy Art in Medicine will be on display in the McKnight Gallery of the Ellen Noël Art Museum through August 24, 2014 and is available for rent by other museums, universities, and other institutions beginning in September of 2014.
The Ellen Noël Art Museum of the Permian Basin provides access to American Art and Design, engaging diverse communities through collections, publications, cross-cultural exhibitions, educational programs, curatorial training and outreach opportunities, in collaboration with local, regional and national institutions.
PR Contact: Amanda Lopez, Ellen Noël Art Museum of the Permian Basin, 4909 E. University Blvd., Odessa, TX 79762; (432) 550-9696 ext. 214; firstname.lastname@example.org