July 31, 2020

Will you donate your heart?

Brian Keeley

Collage of MRI scans, medication packages, paint, on boards.RENAISSANCE, 2016240 cm x 240 cm

This artwork is a life-sized self-portrait using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, created in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen’s Biomedical Imaging Centre. Unlike traditional portraiture which captures the recognisable surface of a person, this image shows the interior of my body, including the transplanted heart which has been beating within me since 2013. Surrounding the figure is a collage of the 7,600 packages from the medications which I need to stay alive for one year. RENAISSANCE deals with the fragility and preciousness of life, at the intersection of art and medical science. It refers to the sense of rebirth following my heart transplant. It also symbolises humankind’s relationship with medical science in the form of the iconic Vitruvian Man. Da Vinci was fascinated by the the functions of the human body at a time when the idea of successfully transplanting a human heart would have been beyond comprehension, as would the possibility to create imagery of the inside of the body. The Organ Donation Opt Out Law will be introduced in Scotland in 2021. It is vital that people discuss their wishes with their loved ones, so that others may have a chance of life.