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Image of the week: Ebola

29 Aug, 2014

L0076142 Ebola. Sculpture by Luke Jerram, c. 2004

This week’s image is of a sculpture of the Ebola virus, created by artist Luke Jerram.

It is an unusual, and artistic, take on Ebola. With the virus continuing to spread in West Africa and the responses from the global health community regularly in the news, we’ve found that journalists and health writers have been requesting images of the virus, but they are not easy to come by.

Made entirely of glass, Luke’s sculpture is approximately one million times larger than the virus itself, and is part of a series of similar glass-works called Glass Microbiology.

All the pieces in this series are transparent and colourless, in deliberate contrast to artificially coloured scientific images. Being smaller than the wavelength of light, viruses in fact have no colour. To create the series, Luke worked in consultation with virologists from the University of Bristol, and photographs of his work have been used in medical journals, media stories, and one has even appeared on the front cover of Nature.

Not only is this a precise visual representation of Ebola, its jewel-like finish carries great beauty. This complex tension between the beauty of an object and what it represents lies at the heart of Luke’s sculptures, which have been created as a means of contemplating the global impact of disease.

This particular artwork was commissioned by a museum in Holland last year, but will be on display in the redeveloped Reading Room at Wellcome Collection in 2015.

Image Credit: Luke Jerram

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 2 Sep, 2014 12:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Medical Library News.

  2. 5 Sep, 2014 6:41 am

    Amazing great beauty indeed in this intricate ” obra maestro” craftsmanship of Luke Jeramm’s magical Biomedical & Lab Medicine artistry :)

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