Human Immunodeficiency Virus (2008)

HIV has been on my list of pathogens for a while. Of course virii are far far too small to take meaningful pictures of, even with SEM, so a degree of interpretation is required. From a human perspective, AIDS is a dreadful disease, however a part of me can’t help but be impressed with the stealth with which this particular organism infiltrates its host. By replicating the protein coatings of white-blood cells, it is able to completely elude attack from the very cells sent to destroy it.

There are of course trillions of virii in each and every one of us at any time, the vast majority producing no symptoms whatsoever, but this does not mean they aren’t busily using our cells to reproduce themselves, weaving their DNA into ours. There is a massive ecosystem of infectious agents at work on your body right now, and you have absolutely no idea. HIV is just one of these agents, but the consequences of infection are devastating.

I will be exhibiting this painting on Sunday 30th November as part of 100 Artists for World AIDS day

Acrylic & Silicone on Canvas 600mm x 600mm

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Giardia Lamblia (2008)

Giardia Lamblia has been on my list to paint for a long time. It is a flagellated protozoan parasite that colonises and reproduces in the small intestine. This painting is a ‘view from below’, or an ‘intestinal villi-eye view’ if you prefer, of Giardia coming in to land…

Acrylic & Silicone on Canvas 600mm x 600mm

It lives in cyst form for months in all sorts of water conditions, waiting for a human, or other mammal, to ingest it. It has existed unchanged, in this form, for millions of years. Initially it was thought to lack mitochondria, but recent research has revealed organelles which point to some sort of bacterial symbiosis in its history.

If you should become infected with these critters, expect the following [from wikipedia]

Symptoms of infection include (in order of frequency) diarrhea, malaise, excessive gas (often flatulence or a foul or sulphuric-tasting belch, which has been known to be so nauseating in taste that it can cause the infected person to vomit), steatorrhoea (pale, foul smelling, greasy stools), epigastric pain, bloating, nausea, diminished interest in food, possible (but rare) vomiting which is often violent, and weight loss.[3] Pus, mucus and blood are not commonly present in the stool. It usually causes “explosive diarrhea” and while unpleasant, is not fatal.

Here is a timelapse recording of the painting process, music by ‘Return to Netley, things have changed’:

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