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Image of the Week: From the Cells to the Stars

This work, titled "From the Cells to the Stars," was painted by artist Michele Banks to in honor of her friend Cathy, who passed in August after a five-year battle with cancer. Not wanting to create another "cancer painting," Banks drew her inspiration for the piece from Carl Sagan's memorable quote that humans are all made of "star stuff." As she explained on her blog:

I was reading about astronomer Carl Sagan, who often expressed the idea that humans are made of "star stuff". That is, that all the basic elements of life on earth derive from "space debris" from the gigantic explosions of massive, ancient stars. This concept is at once so simple and so mind-boggling that it's a struggle to absorb, much less to express artistically. I started looking around for ideas of how to visually portray the basic elements such as hydrogen, helium and nitrogen. Um. This is difficult, because you can't see them. If you do a Google image search on Carbon, it comes up with a lot of gray-black cars. But when I thought about how the elements were released, I found supernovas. Not only are supernovas beautiful and awe-inspiring, they bear a strong resemblance to dividing cells, especially explosively dividing cancer cells.

Here's the other thing. Carl Sagan also had [myelodysplastic syndrome]. He underwent three bone marrow transplants before he died in 1996. So this painting, besides celebrating the cosmic connection that all living creatures share, goes out to Cathy and Carl. From the infinitely tiny cells deep in the marrow of their bones, to the billions of stars in the sky.

Image courtesy Michele Banks
Via The Atlantic

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