In Lindsay

#NoBlankBrains – My brain designed with Peter Mansbridge

If you follow me on social media you may have seen over the course of the Summer, snippits from this amazing project that I’ve been working on. Earlier in the Summer, I was approached by organizers at The Brain Project . But before I tell you more about my involvement, let me explain the Brain project because it’s initiative is the most important aspect of this story.

The TELUS Health Brain Project launched to start a public conversation about brain health and bring awareness to diseases like Alzheimer’s. The program raises funds for Baycrest Health Sciences, a world leader in brain health and aging. The initiative is that as an artist you apply to be one of their 100 artists who can design a brain to be on display throughout Toronto, throughout the Summer. At the end, the brains are sold, with all proceeds going to Baycrest Health Sciences. I was familiar with this great initiative having seen brains across Toronto and Yorkdale last year and found it to be a compelling installation – using art to spark conversation and placed in various centres across our city – where you would wander and happen upon a brain.  So when I was approached about the 2017 initiative I was immediately on board.

They further explained that they were doing a smaller exhibit called “Great Canadian Minds” where they picked six great Canadians and pair them with artists to render their vision. It was obviously a yes for me, and they said that they wanted to pair me with Peter Mansbridge, the longtime host of CBC’s The National. It was a perfect pairing as CBC is a part of our family – as Aubrey has worked there since we were married, and Peter Mansbridge has been in my life longer than Aubrey – hosting the evening news that I would watch with my Mom and Dad growing up and, throughout my adult life. He was a voice I came to trust. To be partnered with him was a HUGE honour.


This is the brain I got. It was quite the piece!

And so we set out to design a brain together. It was actually quite easy to do, having such strong admiration for him and knowing how much he has impacted Canadians with his evening news. Also, Peter had a great idea of what he wanted his brain to be like, gave me a great start to how to design it. Over the course of some weeks at the cottage I sketched and sketched, fretting as I was new to 3D concepts. The brain is a full circle of Canada, from the West Coast to East, with a handful of iconic images representing areas of our gorgeous country. It was a family affair at the cottage, with all of us around the fire talking about Canadian images that would have to be on the brain. From my perspective, I wanted to design a brain that had imagery that would capture the attention of children, with someone like Oscar being able to pick out iconic images. At points it was terribly overwhelming as I didn’t want to leave anything out or misrepresent. But in the end I sat and designed a brain that I am ridiculously proud of, and thankfully Peter loved it too!

The brain is now on display at Yorkdale, right outside Roots (which is super fitting as it is also a great Canadian icon!) 😉

You can see it in full rotation over on the Brain Project’s website. 

Also, this brain is for sale, with 100% of the proceeds from the sale going to Baycrest’s Health Sciences. (you can get a tax receipt!). So if you have a great space for this brain, perhaps at your company’s lobby, this would be such a fun piece of art to spark a conversation.

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