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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 May, 2003, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
A picture of health
By Emma, a student at the Chelsea Children's Hospital School
'Smoking Kills'

A doctor worried about the state of smoker's hearts hopes to use art to encourage people to care better for their inner health.

Dr Geoffrey Farrer-Brown, a retired consultant histopathologist, said he had been dismayed by the number of people, particularly young women, who ignore the health of their hearts.

So he has staged a special art exhibition, 'Tree of Life', to emphasize the importance of the heart to the body.

"The bottom line is that we are aiming at young women. They are concerned at their outer beauty, but are not looking at the inner beauty.

Beauty

"I envisage the role of this exhibition to be in preventative medicine and to encourage the viewer to reflect the beauty of the heart and its blood supply and consider the question 'why damage this beauty by smoking'?"

In the earlier part of his career Dr Geoffrey Farrer-Brown specialised in cardiology and took a series of X-rays which showed that the coronary arteries and veins looked like the Tree of Life.

Why damage this beauty by smoking?
Dr Geoffrey Farrer-Brown

Eleven artists were shown the X-rays and pictures of the normal and diseased heart and its blood supply and used these to create their art work, which include sculpture, glass work and paintings.

By using these visual pictures Dr Farrer-Brown said he hoped the public would become more aware of their own bodies.

By Peter Layton
'Strange Fruits'

"We are using fine art to demystify medicine, said Dr Farrer-Brown.

Dr Farrer-Brown has previously used art work to help women with cancer understand their diagnosis and treatment and an exhibition based on childhood leukaemia.

Interest

The anatomy of the blood supply, the structure, power and stamina of the heart muscle, the importance of normal blood flow and the damage caused to muscle by diminished blood flow resulting from coronary artery disease have all been considered.

Artists have also looked at angina and the features of a heart attack.

By Alan Farrant
The Heart, the Tree and the Stone'

Nicki Cooper, Head of Education for the British Heart Foundation, said the exhibition should stimulate interest.

"We are always looking for new and different ways to make people more aware of their heart.

"The Tree of Life exhibition is a unique way to use art to target an audience that we may not always reach.

"This new exhibition is an excellent opportunity for the British Heart Foundation to help people think about how they can keep things on the inside - like the heart - looking and feeling as good as the things on the outside."

The exhibition, which took five years to develop, is on display at the Coffee Shop at the Royal Brompton Hospital until June 26 2003.




SEE ALSO:
Battling cancer through art
05 Jan 03  |  Health
Aiding recovery with art therapy
16 Feb 03  |  Health
Art as mental therapy
03 Jul 02  |  Health
'Modern art made me blue'
16 Jun 02  |  Health
Student sleeps for art
28 Jun 01  |  Education


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