Phosphorescent mica particles produce an eerie glow from each hemisphere; bronze fingers entwine themselves around a human brain like roots of a living tree while networks of neural transmitters resemble an intricate spider’s web.
This is no mad scientist’s laboratory or scenes from a 50s sci-fi flick. Rather, they’re sculptural interpretations of the brain as re-imagined by 100 artists, designers and celebrities in support of care and research into aging and brain health for the internationally renowned, Baycrest Health Sciences. The Brain Project, presented by Telus, officially opens June 3rd in Toronto, Canada, when the “brain sculptures” become city-wide public art installations.
“This amazing idea was the brainchild (‘pardon the pun,’ she laughs,) of my co-chair, Erica Godfrey,” credits the exuberant Jessica Mulroney Skyping from her Toronto home. “Erica had seen something similar done with Faberge eggs in New York and London and thought it could be adapted for The Brain Project to bring awareness to brain health.”
The two dynamic women and their husbands are no strangers to philanthropy:
Jessica (aka Jessica Brownstein, a scion of the Browns Shoes empire from Montreal,) is the co-founder of the Shoebox Project, a charity that stocks shoeboxes full of basic luxuries for women in shelters. She’s also the public relations and marketing spokeswoman for Kleinfeld Bridal Boutique at Hudson’s Bay. Her husband, Ben Mulroney (son of former Prime Minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney,) is host of etalk and National Ambassador for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Canada and sits on the Board of The Shoebox Project.
Co-chairs, Erica Godfrey is a freelance graphic designer and the Co-Founder and current Co-Chair of Game Night for Baycrest. Erica sits on the Cabinet for Women and Infant’s Health at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto and Co-Founded the annual Mother-Daughter Tea fundraiser. Businessman, Noah Godfrey founded Checkout 51, a leading coupon mobile app; Dose, a national daily newspaper in Canada, and GigPark a web startup to find local businesses through recommendations from friends.
“If a man has lost a leg or an eye, he knows he has lost a leg or an eye; but if he has lost a self-himself-he cannot know it, because he is no longer there to know it.” Neurologist, author Dr. Oliver Sachs
“Almost every family has someone who has been affected by Alzeimer’s Disease or dementia and Ben’s family and mine are certainly no exceptions,” explains Mulroney. “My paternal grandmother – a woman who was full of life and energy – had early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at age 55. My grandfather cared for her for about 20 years before she passed away. Then he too was affected. He was somebody that I remember being so sharp, quick, kind and generous, and such an incredible person. To watch his deterioration was very difficult, not just for me but in particular for my father, who admired him so much.”
Mathew den Boer, a Toronto artist who works in digital media, was commissioned specifically for The Brain Project to create the abstract 3D brain as a canvas, with all it’s folds and iterations. Using it as his prototype, the sculpture was created with a 3D printer so that all 100 artists could work on an equal footing-er-brain.
The diverse artists who have contributed to The Brain Project include Pop-Art illustrator, Gary Taxali; LA-based street artist and filmmaker, Thierry Guetta Mr. Brainwash; industrial designer, Karim Rashid; South African-born, Dani Cooperman; Montreal collage portraitist, Andre Monet ; Kim Kardashian West with her daughter North and British rocker Muse frontman, Matthew Bellamy to name only a few.
Their sculptural brains will be auctioned to the public, corporations and collectors world-wide with a goal of $2million to Baycrest Health Sciences. And THAT’s a no-brainer!
TOP PHOTO: Supporting Hands by Roger Edwards.“This (bronze) sculpture honours the many anonymous people lending their support to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.”