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SmartArt Competition 2016

SmartArt is an annual competition for neuroscience-themed artwork, organized by the HBITO.  All HBI members are encouraged to participate. Any type of static artwork such as paint, pastel, sketch, ink, photography, microscopy, imaging, sculptures and etc are accepted. 

This year's competition was held on Friday June 17th, 2016.


Congratulations to Melany Mclean as the winner of SmartArt 2016 for her piece entitled Gloria.


This shallow relief sculpture uses coloured thread to portray a coronal slice of the human brain. The one foot square wooden canvas has been treated with a dark walnut stain to give it a rich brown colour and enhance the wood grain. Lustrous brass nails outline the gyri and sulci of the brain, and trace white and grey matter boundaries through the slice. Threads ranging in colour from bright red to soft lavender and blue have been tied between nails to create a vibrant image of the brain.

This work is an abstract representation of a coronal slice of the human brain. Vibrant colours and polished metals highlight the natural beauty of gyri, sulci and ventricles. Thread is used as a connecting medium to create geometric patterns which gently allude to neural networks. This representation of the brain is meant to provoke thought and showcase beauty.

– Melany Mclean–

Special thanks to our other entrants:

Bionic Brain

Multimedia sculpture of the brain and heart created with wires, screws and bolts, copper foil, and lights.

This piece shows how our brain connects to our basic functions (such as controlling heart palpitations) through the synchronized flashing of lights between the brain and the heart. It also represents how technology has greatly influenced and expanded our understanding of the brain and the field of neuroscience itself.

– Emily Hiles –


Brain Specimen

I always liked the slightly creepy and antique-looking specimens at the Berlin Museum of Medical History: smaller ones were pinned onto card board, larger ones were kept in formaldehyde. Since I wouldn't go as far as displaying a real brain in formaldehyde, I tried to combine what I've seen in the museum with my own research focus, imaging the human brain.

A specimen refers to "a sample of a substance or material for examination or study" and "Brain Specimen" perfectly depicts my daily work as a neuroscientist: studying the human brain.

– Manu Schuetze –



Primary culture of rat sensory neurons. Grown for 18 hours, immunostained for neurofilament and βIII-tubulin. Imaged with the slide scanner.

Dorsal root ganglion neuronal cell culture.

– Shane Eaton –

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