Ex Voto

Anna Dumitriu

31 Jan
2020
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“Ex Voto” (2016 onwards) is an ongoing participatory artwork and major installation that explores the impact of infectious diseases and antibiotics on our lives, created through the making of ‘votive offerings’ during drop-in story sharing workshop sessions. These secular ‘votive offerings’ reference those found in religious settings symbolising a wish or giving thanks for its fulfilment. The ‘votives’ are hung on ribbons, stained or dyed with bacteria, including various species of gut microbiota, Staphylococcus aureus and modified antibiotic-producing Streptomyces (all sterilised), as well as natural antimicrobial substances such as madder root, and non-hazardous chemical dyes used in the lab.

“Ex Voto” Installation view at the History of Science Museum, Oxford

The artwork is being extended during the COVID-19 lockdown period, as the artist documents her experiences and combines them with reflections and memories of the period that she hears about through friends, colleagues, social media and the news. The work also explores the changing face of treatment of the disease, recoveries, and remembrances.

“Ex Voto” pandemic reflections work in progress

“Ex Voto” was originally developed as part of Back From The Dead: Demystifying Antibiotics at Oxford Museum of the History of Science, developed in collaboration with Dr Nicola Fawcett (University of Oxford) and Professor Maggie Smith (University of York) and also being created with the MRG-Grammar Consortium and The Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research.  

“Ex Voto” (detail) at The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford

Exhibitions

Back from the Dead” at the History of Science Museum in Oxford (UK) from 4th November 2016 until 18th March 2018.

BioArt and Bacteria” (solo exhibition) at the History of Science Museum in Oxford (UK) from 28th September 2017 until 21st May 2017.

Recent Works” (two person show) at The Wright Gallery at Texas A & M University from 5th – 8th March 2018.

BioArt and Bacteria” (solo exhibition) at The Esther Klein Gallery and the Science Center in Philadelphia (USA). The show ran from 18th October until the 24th November 2018.

 “BioArt and Bacteria” (solo exhibition) at Eden Project in Cornwall (UK) from 30th March – 1st June 2019.

“Ex Voto” (detail) at the Esther Klein Gallery at Philadelphia Science Center

Workshops

Workshops have taken place at numerous venues including The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Hertford College at The University of Oxford, The History of Science Museum in Oxford, DIYbio in Tel Aviv, The Weizmann Institute in Tel Aviv, Technion in Haifa, Texas A & M University, Watermans Gallery in London, The Wellcome Sanger Institute Cambridge, Imperial Science Festival at Imperial College London, and Eden Project in Cornwall, UK.

“Ex Voto” installation view at the Esther Klein Gallery at Philadelphia Science Center