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Yana Zorina

About the Artwork:

Grief is a strong emotional response to a crisis and can come in many forms. It may come from losing a loved one, having a sense of losing ourselves due to receiving a frightening diagnosis, or experiencing a life-changing event. In her microscopy-inspired artwork, Yana explores how natural biological processes can serve as metaphors for our mental state. The nervous system is very fragile and difficult to restore, yet some people show extraordinary resilience to both physical and mental trauma. They retain their connection with hope, which is often hard to find. The artwork in this series shows how at its most basic level, the nervous system can experience shock and adapt to changing circumstances. We have built-in resilience, which allows us to move past obstacles, find hope in novel medical approaches and remain optimistic. These qualities are mirrored in nerve cells being able to move past an injury site, stem cells providing new methods towards recovery and the first sense of optimism, represented by a semi-hidden white jewel explored in the second set of canvases. The second half also examines how we see ourselves at a deeply intrinsic level and whether we can rely solely on ourselves or need help from the outside world to find a way to move forward.


Yana Zorina, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist with a lifelong passion for the arts. In her scientific career, Yana has always been attracted to microscopy as a means to take a closer look at the beautiful structures that compose the mammalian brain. In her microscopy-inspired artwork, she uses her neuroscientist training to accurately recreate scientific images into 3D-beaded renderings of cellular structures to bring the beauty of scientific research to a wider audience. In viewing beads as analogs of pixels observed on a screen, Yana turns microscopy on its head by transforming ultra-thin optical sections into 3D structures. Beyond being passionate about the breathtaking beauty of microscopy images, Yana uses them to serve a greater purpose of communicating science to a wider audience and initiating conversations on difficult topics, such as neurological conditions.

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