Radhika Patnala is a neuroscientist from India specialising in diverse fields such as cancer biology, neuroimmunology and epigenetics. She is the founder and director of Sci-illustrate. As a life scientist, she embarked on a new-found identity as an artist to explore the intersection of science and art, using the inclusive languages of art and design to help give shape to her own internal reflections. Radhika Patnala has co-curated with Jamila Seftaoui, UNESCO Director for Gender Equality, the Creative Resilience exhibition and prepared its digital and virtual components.
“A virus is neither good nor bad, it is just another element that humans share with the world. Learning is motivated by curiosity and not fear. I hope to transform the visual conversation around COVID-19 science, and perhaps even individual perceptions and how one receives, and copes with the information surrounding COVID-19, its science, and impact on society”
Covid Dreams, 2020, a series of digital paintings, observe a truly global dream event documented for the first time, only made possible by globalization and social media, where many people around the world reported experiencing vivid dreams in response to the stresses of threat to life, quarantine, self-isolation, and work-from-home. “Dreams are a shared human experience, but also very personal.
I wanted to explore this interesting subject of Covid Dreams by using a similarly vivid, dreamlike, abstract, explorative visual theme that captures the multifaceted variety in experiences and ideas related to Covid 19 and its impact on society, but also highlight the ‘shared reality’ that confronted many during Covid times”. This series of 11 artworks captures snapshots of the journey of the virus inside our body and thoughts in our minds, influenced by world events, and the resolution that we have experienced with the coming of the vaccine.
The entry of the virus into the body.
The paranoia of others not wearing a mask
The view on the other side of the mask
The virus circulating in the blood (interspersed among endothelial cells that make blood vessels)
The virus hijacking the cellular machinery of the infected cell to make copies of itself. Virusgenomic RNA (seen in Blue); viral proteins (seen in pink)
The virus genomic RNA (seen in Blue) wraps around viral proteins (seen in pink) that help itpackage all its genetic information as a nucleoprotein complex inside its very small envelope
The genetic information of the virus (seen in blue) is packaged inside the viral envelope containing many proteins (like the spike protein in yellow). The external shell of the virus interacts with various elements in its environment, such as other cells to potentially infect.
Focusing on the spike protein, these structures on the corona virus help it recognize and enter human cells through ACE receptors and are what make it deadly. Many vaccines have been targeted towards this protein.
A different perspective of the Spike protein seen as towering structures from the surface of the virus particle.
The coronavirus and the pandemic have taken over our world. The spike proteins also represent the rising “data peaks” in infections and deaths we observed across the world at the peak of every wave.
Let the vaccine wash over the world like a soothing balm, our fates resting in the hands of the healthcare workers, nurses, scientists and healthcare professionals that have so willingly and selflessly worked so that we may live on.