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Cancer biology is a complex topic for the wide public. This is what Tarig Osman, researcher in medicine, realized while he and his collegues communicate the results of their studies. To make it accessible for the many, they started working on the project ‘Learn About Cancer Through Art’. The exhibition they held at Naturhistorisk Museum in late October aimed at “using art as a tool to disseminate what [they] find out in the lab”, explains Osman.

To do so, researchers collaborated with artists and challenged them to transform this scientific knowledge into pieces of art. The result took various forms, such as paintings, shortfilms and theatrical performances. Henriette Christie Ertsås is a molecular biologist, and she played the role of a cancer cell in the shortfilms. She also studied acting, and tends to dramatize her scientific knowledge : “I keep thinking of it as characters who want things, since every living things have needs and desires”. Thus, in the shortfilms, the cancer cell takes the form of a coworker who disorganizes the whole company and threatens it of bankruptcy.

The artists themselves felt involved in the project. “I remember after the lectures at the lab, we continued talking in the elevator about what we just learned” says Maria Erikssen, who contributed with a painting. “We really tried to understand the research behind cancer”, she adds. With this first exhibition, artists and scientists hope they will contribute to raise awareness about cancer biology, especially for the newests results of their studies.


Bensound – Summer