A healthy and inclusive mind expands, creating a world that supports growth, is tied to nature and intertwined with all living creatures. Symbolizing the globe that Rick Hansen travelled around on his Man In Motion World Tour, it is sustained through a spine and cradled by an arbutus tree. Bright, saturated colours give way to darkness, but a spark of light emerges, like a wheel, giving hope and inspiration.
Iconic Canadian Rick Hansen established the Rick Hansen Foundation in 1988 following his Man in Motion tour to raise awareness about the potential of, and barriers facing, people with disabilities. Artist Shary Bartlett proudly followed his athletic Paralympic victories and world tour, and was honoured to interpret Hansen’s vision in this brain sculpture. As the daughter-in-law of someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, she marvels at how this complex organ harbours such intelligence, abilities and memories, and its profound impact on love and human experience.
Shary Bartlett’s paintings are held in public and private collections in Canada and the US. She teaches art internationally and nationally and her mixed media work and techniques are published in the books, Encaustic Art in the 21st Century and Encaustic Revelation.
Artist’s statement – Shary Bartlett
The Brain Project – Rick Hansen
Artist Shary Bartlett was commissioned to interpret and render Rick Hansen’s brain for The Brain Project. Her piece was inspired by Rick’s philosophy of “Many in Motion” – that dreams can be achieved when people work as a team to bring about change.
The top of sculpture is in the shape of the circular route Rick traveled during his 1985-87 Man in Motion world tour. The trunk is shaped like a spinal cord, referencing Rick’s spinal cord injury sustained as a teenager, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. There are also icons and symbols for the brain, including references to wheels, for all he continues to achieve in his wheelchair. Bartlett also included nods to ecological health based on Rick’s belief that the planet is one synergistic ecosystem that connects people, land, oceans and animals.
Bartlett uses colours that are bright, energetic and beautiful, but also includes areas of shadow, symbolizing how both are realities of life. Alzheimer’s disease can represent life’s darkness, but Bartlett implemented Rick’s decision to focus on the world’s positive light, which emerges, like a wheel, from the sunlit point on the sculpture’s surface.