GROWTH – find beauty in pain

Our bodies are fascinating structures. While we are commonly used to looking for beauty in the overall outer shape, there is much to be found by looking closer – even on a cellular level.

The image shows astrocytes, cells that respond to an increased nerve activity, for example chronic pain, by stimulating and intensifying the signal even further. A research group tried to find substances that inhibit the cell’s ability to strengthen pain signals. One such substance causes the cells to change shape and transform to the heart formation we see here.

So what I see is the culprit for a great deal of agony, cells that intensify the pain signals in my body. I would have expected such a part of my body to be ugly, even repulsive, yet there is harmony in these fine concentric lines. The heart shape that the cell takes when it does not increase pain signals is reminiscent of a loving sign – take care of your body.


Artwork: Ada Delaney, Pain. Camilla Svensson lab. Seen in the exhibition “Den osynliga kroppen” at Sven Harrys Konstmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden.

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