James worked with students from the Medical School to create the artwork

Artist and students transform cardboard into stunning artwork

A local artist has worked with students from the University of Exeter Medical School to create a striking sculpture made from a humble everyday material: cardboard.

Exeter artist James Lake began sculpting as part of his recovery after losing his leg through bone cancer aged 17. James now uses cardboard as his medium of choice, creating intricately detailed life-size sculptures from the recyclable material.

The sculpture portrays an anatomical torso, complete with meticulously detailed muscles, spinal cord and face. Students worked with James to create the sculpture’s cavity, including internal organs and elements that represent the Medical School’s variety of interdependent disciplines.

Students and staff wrote messages to express their learning, ambitions, and their wish to inspire future students, which were then incorporated into the sculpture, as part of the skin.

James said: “It was a real privilege to be part of such an exceptional learning environment. Whilst working with the students I realised how much the diverse disciplines interlock to create new avenues for the development of medicine in the future. The journey of the project, from the initial idea to finished sculpture, has shown the importance of strong core values that can be transferred from teacher to student for the benefit of wider society.”

Dr Stephanie Bull, a Senior Lecturer in the Medical School, said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with such a talented artist on this project. The sculpture makes an excellent addition to the foyer, and I’m thrilled that James has created a piece of art that reflects the wonderful staff and students that we have here. Our teaching ethos brings together small groups of people to find the best solution to a particular issue, and this project has applied the same principle to making us more human and accessible as a medical school. The sculpture will encourage a shared sense of purpose and enjoyment for staff, students and visitors to the Medical School.”

Naomi Fuller, a Medicine student involved in the project, said: “Studying a scientific subject can mean our creative sides can sometimes feel slightly neglected, so it’s fantastic to have this sculpture displayed in the Medical School. The sculpture will serve as a good reminder of the beauty in what we are studying.”

Funding for the artwork came from the University’s Annual Fund.

The sculpture, which stands at over 7 feet tall, was unveiled today (Wednesday 6th December) and is available to view in the Medical School foyer.

You can find out more about James’ work here.

Date: 6 December 2017

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