Human microbial ecosystem, artistic representation

  • Rebecca D Harris
  • Digital Images
  • Online

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Human microbial ecosystem, artistic representation. Rebecca D Harris. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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About this work


Human microbial ecosystem representation, hand and machine embroidery on fabric. Our bodies are an enormous microbial community with a need to be kept in a healthy balance and humans are therefore referred to as an eco-system. The artist has used this analogy of the body being like a geographical area in this image; the two-dimensional figure is brought to life by drawing her landscape similar to the contour lines found on a map. The trillions of microbes present in the human body is represented by the hand embroidered French knots, the colours of which represent the major groups of microbes present on the skin, and give a sense of the diversity, proportions and distributions of the communities that make our bodies their home. The bright, seductive and tactile surface is embellished to focusing on the positive aspects of our human microbiome. The size of the original artwork is 160 x 60 centimetres.


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