Interfacing Anatomy and Art By Professor Paul McMenamin When most people think of medical students Now this type of body painting has extended learning anatomy they probably have a vision of beyond the walls of the medical school. ‘Anatomy dreary eyed students hunched over thick textbooks for Artists’, a series of classes run by Professor and reams of anatomical minutiae learning thousands McMenamin, started through the collaboration of terms that no one else would ever care to know. of Hans Arkeveld, artist in residence at the UWA However, the world of science and medicine has School of Anatomy & Human Biology, and Joanna changed in the last 50 or so years and with it so Robertson of Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle. From 6 have teaching methods. There has been a reduction a single session on the musculoskeletal system the in both didactic teaching and the expectation for class has grown into a series of six classes in which students to recall lots of unnecessary detail. Instead artists interested in life drawing can participate in more emphasis is placed on teaching students how body painting on a life model. to learn and how to solve problems. In response, anatomy teachers worldwide have adapted by Over the series of classes Professor McMenamin Professor Paul developing other learning tools including the use first of all teaches participants some of the skeletal G. McMenamin of high quality multimedia and novel teaching basis of human form (Fig 1) by allowing participants is Associate innovations such as ‘body painting’. to paint the position of the major skeletal structures Dean (Teaching onto a model. Particular emphasis is paid to the & Learning), Body painting can serve several functions in medical Faculty of teaching including reinforcing surface anatomy by Medicine, illustrating anatomical features on the body surface Dentistry and how these relate to landmarks which a doctor & Health must learn to palpate when examining a patient. Sciences and It also aids students in building up a visual image School of of underlying anatomy. At UWA in classes dealing Anatomy & with the musculoskeletal system we have recently Human Biology, introduced some body painting sessions into our the University practical medical anatomy classes where students of Western are actively encouraged to paint on one another. Australia These sessions include hand painting, foot painting (UWA). and face painting. points where the skeleton lies close to the surface However, schools of anatomy can be greatly and can be felt and seen. We discuss joints and enriched by having artists around not only to their movement (shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, help academics illustrate their own observations Reference: ankle, back) whilst participants actively paint the or produce high quality teaching aids. Equally the OP DEN AKKER body. In the next 2-3 sessions the participants are plethora of fascinating subject material makes JW (2002) introduced to the underlying basis for the contours, anatomy schools fertile ground for artists to Giving color to a ridges and visible features that one sees on a work. If, as I have discussed above, we can use new curriculum: human life model. Understanding the definition art, for example body painting, to make learning bodypaint as a lines is so critical to good life drawing. Professor of clinically relevant anatomy more enjoyable for tool in medical McMenamin involves the participants in painting medical students then those positive educational education. the major muscles not only in the correct positions experiences in perhaps a small way may help Clinical Anatomy but replicating the pattern of the underlying muscle produce more rounded and knowledgeable 15: 356-362. fibres as closely as possible and in life-like colours doctors of the future. on the skin of both male and female models. This really has the effect of bringing the muscles to ‘life’ Images: . Whilst this is taking place the functions of these Courtesy Professor Paul McMenamin + Kidogo Arthouse major muscles are also discussed. Gradually the model comes to look like a detailed reproduction of the body minus skin and could be classified as a living art form. In another session we focus on the anatomy of the head (eyelids, nose, cheek, mouth, ears) and the muscles of the neck which 7 is aimed to help participants in portrait work. The last session is a reflective one where participants are allowed to simply draw a life model and we discuss how their knowledge of anatomy may have helped them in their interpretation and therefore representation of the amazing human form. Anatomy and artists have had a long association at UWA through well known local artist Hans Arkeveld who has been working in the School of Anatomy & Human Biology since 1968. His sculpting expertise is used to create unique models and reproductions of rare anatomical material such as hyoid bones, [You can view these articles online at vertebrae, primate skulls and human ancestral www.artsourcve.net.au/newsletter] skulls. Hans also assists in formal teaching sessions by sharing his love of drawing and showing students the value of drawing as a method of making and recording accurate observations. The school many years ago had a dedicated medical illustrator but with changes in technology that style of illustrative work has become less necessary. introduction of numerous objects of art in every conceivable location, his own as well as those by many other artists such as Jon Tarry who also worked at the School, he has worked a particular magic over its physical and psychological spaces. Artist: Hans Arkeveld, Anatomy Lesson of Dr Holst “Hans has altered our awareness of ourselves. His being here has made a difference to us. He makes us feel good about ourselves, what we do and how we do it.” 1 One Head of School has referred to Hans’ regular interaction as ‘an extensive symbiotic relationship that has integrated art into the everyday life of this Department’. 2 8 This empathy between art and science has also enabled a group known as SymbioticA 3 to become established within the Hans’ room on the first floor the specimens in the laboratory School. of the School of Anatomy and jars and on the dissecting tables. Human Biology could, at first glance, be mistaken for a Shrine Since 1968 Hans has been 1 Dr Jan Meyer interviewed by Robyn to Saint Sulo. But venture past the drawing from the body in the Taylor, 14 April 2004. bear peering through the door School of Anatomy and Human 2 Letter of recommendation for Hans with its computer disk eyes and Biology. His involvement with to be awarded the University’s highest departmental work is being done this department has been truly degree, the Chancellor’s Medal. Dated amongst the magpie collection remarkable and owes much to 20 April 2000 of ephemera. The apparent the open mindedness of the then 3 See page 10 of this newsletter Excerpts from the incongruity of this artist’s studio Head of Department Professor catalogue essay cum technician’s laboratory David Allbrook who encouraged Transient is a touring exhibition by Dr Robyn reflects a very important aspect art students and had set up a supported by Art on the Move and Taylor, Transient of the School’s philosophy. This series of lectures looking at the will be showing in: 1963–2004, is the need to keep medical interconnections between art Esperance 20 Aug – 20 Sept 2006; a retrospective science within the social context and science. Busselton 29 Sept – 29 Oct 2006; exhibition of the of life in all its complexity: to not Albany 3 – 30 May 2007. work of Hans forget that conscious life and Hans has effectively infiltrated For more info see: Arkeveld. thought once animated many of the place and through the www.artonthemove.com.au What is SymbioticA? Although artists have been working Intriguing projects resulting from inter-disciplinary approaches with the Department for the last between art and science are bubbling here and across the three decades, until recently, none globe. Take a look at some, profiled by the following: actually used the laboratories to produce their art work. Artists in Labs (AIL) [www.artistsinlabs.ch] offers Swiss laboratories as a place of liaison between artists SymbioticA is a research laboratory and scientists in order to create new levels of creativity, dedicated to the artistic exploration innovation and communication. AIL supports collaborations of scientific knowledge, in particular between international Artists and Swiss-based scientists, biological technologies. SymbioticA and encourages trans-disciplinary groups with solid project is the first research laboratory of ideas; e.g. Z-NODE, a PHD program, in corporation with the its kind, in that it enables artists to University of Plymouth, (art, technology and science) with 14 engage in wet biology practices in a researchers enrolled. biological science department. The Arts Catalyst, UK, [www.artscatalyst.org] SymbioticA is designed as an evolving believes that a repositioning of different specialised areas of place of artistic investigation that investigation is necessary for an innovative, outward-looking is accessible to people throughout and ethical society. They foster collaboration between 9 Western Australia and beyond. scientists and artists and seek scientists’ involvement in artistic SymbioticA welcomes artists and and interdisciplinary projects. scholars to work in interdisciplinary research teams exploring new Art & Science Collaborations (ASCI), USA directions for new technologies and [www.asci.org] profiles artists and scientists who use science the effects on society they might and technology to explore new forms of creative expression. have. Their ArtSci INDEX, an online database, connects biologists, technologists, mathematical physicists, psychologists and SymbioticA are happy to discuss playwrights, visual artists, dancers, and musicians for projects different models of residencies and of mutual interest. are using this service [http://asci.org/ seek expressions of interest from INDEX/]. artists interested in exploring art and science in general and art and biology in particular. For more links to informative sites see “Resources” at www.artsource.net.au/membersservices www.symbiotica.uwa.edu.au Inspired by the immortal words of Hippocrates “life is short; art is long”, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has been presenting an exclusive series of workshops for GPs. Before entering a computer lab to learn about a specific aspect of evidence based medicine, GPs enjoy Lillian Tan from the RACGP linking art of medicine to the a glass of wine and listen to an artist talking about told us about the talks: science of medicine? their work. We wanted to introduce the Artists participating: Jon Denaro, Andrew Stumpfel, concept of medicine-inspired art to Sandra Black, Peter Kendall, Julie Parsons, Kat Cook the GPs subtly so they can begin to and Jasper Black. see beauty in the work they do.We You have developed an interesting also wanted them to view medicine line-up of artist talks for the from another perspective i.e. that RACGP - what was your motivation of the artists. for this? [Lillian Tan] The main aim of the How has artsource helped you in Art Series is to up skill GPs in this program? the application of evidence based artsource has been a tremendous medicine by subliminally linking the help to us - they help put together art of medicine to the science of the artists for each of the sessions medicine. However, we would also by helping us source the most 10 like to highlight that for centuries, appropriate artists and also artists have drawn inspiration from establishing contact with them. Dr Andrew Wesseldine presented in tandem medicine. We invited WA-based with Andrew Stumpfel: artists to present on how they What has been the response from draw inspiration from medicine for the GPs? “I was most impressed by Andrew and his take on their projects. Each session has a All the attending GPs think that the theme of “Brain storm”. I was surprised that clinical theme and we wanted to the Art Series is a very innovative we, as artist and physician, share so many similar find artists who have an interest program and they are really gaining challenges each day and was fascinated by his in those particular areas. e.g. Jon a good insight into the planning and approach to complex problems especially in the Denaro for ‘Smoke and Fire’. That workings of the artists. group setting. I was able to gain an insight into how particular session was looking at he sees the world as well, and this was particularly smoking cessation and Jon seemed Would you do it again? interesting for me in that thinking “outside the an appropriate choice as he is Yes! We would definitely run this square” is what we try to do more of and what we interested in cilia/trachea. again but with different themes. are generally not trained well as doctors to do. What do you mean by subliminally I found Andrew’s talk both uplifting and stimulating, and we hope to incorporate his ideas and visions into some of the fund-raising and educational projects that we run in the RPH Stroke Unit. I The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners is the largest general practitioner certainly thought the concept of the evening was organisation in Australia, with over 14,000 members. The RACGP is the national leader worthwhile and the most novel I have ever been in setting and maintaining the standards for quality practice, education and research in involved in.” Australian general practice.
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