​​​​​​​​​​Image of Inner workings logo
The logo used for the event was created by a patient of The Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Tumour Centre. (Photo: The Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Tumour Centre)​

In recognition of Brain Tumour Awareness Month, The Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Tumour Centre took time to showcase the talent and creativity of those affected by brain tumours, at the second annual Inner Workings Art Show.

The Pencer Centre, located on the top floor of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, was transformed into a gallery for the event that included 37 displays by 23 different artists.

"The artwork submitted really mirrors the diversity of the brain tumour population," says Maureen Daniels, coordinator, The Gerry and Nancy Pencer Brain Tumour Centre, and Inner Workings founder.

"Brain tumours affect all ages, cultures, and walks of life, and it's evident when you look at the art on display and read each artist's story," she says. "Patients, healthcare providers, friends and family, all participate in the event, and it provides us with the opportunity to come together and share our experiences."

The Moment of Forever​

Image of Dave Coules band
Dave Coules, on tenor saxophone, accompanied by ensemble members (L-R): Jonathan Meyer, Bass; John Collin, Drums; and, Carol Olson, Piano. (Photo: Dave Coules)

The show began with an artists' reception on Thursday evening, and it marked a moving debut for musician, Dave Coules, who shared a self-composed song, never before played for an audience.

The song, titled The Moment of Forever (Adam's Song), is reflective of unconditional love and is meant to express the joy surrounding the birth of his son Adam.​

Image of The Moment of Forever
Hand written sheet music of 'The Moment of Forever' composed by Dave Coules. (Photo: University Health Network)

Dave developed a connection to the Pencer Brain Tumour Centre when Adam was diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2006.

Adam passed away on August 31, 2012, and the Coules family has held a strong relationship with the University Health Network (UHN) since. To learn more about Adam's courageous battle, read his story here.

"Well, that's a zebra!"​

Image of Dr. Kiehl’s display
Four pieces of artwork submitted by neuropathologist, Dr. Rasmus Kiehl. On the right is an adapted image of famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’.(Photo: University Health Network)​

Also on display was artwork from Dr. Rasmus Kiehl, neuropathologist, Laboratory Medicine Program, who uses microscopic images to create "compositional microscopy art." His pieces come together by combining cellular imagery that pathologists see under a microscope in a way that creates new images or recreates existing famous works of art.

Much of Dr. Kiehl's artwork revolves around brain tumours and the science behind identifying and diagnosing abnormalities in the brain.​

Image of Zebra
Dr. Rasmus Kiehl’s artwork titled, Zebra, is inspired by a saying among pathologists about a consult case of a brain tumour. (Photo: University Health Network)​

One of his pieces, called Zebra, uses images taken from a neuropathology consult case of a brain tumour that showed an unusual pattern of "rhythmic palisades." When pathologists encounter an unusual and difficult to classify tumour they sometimes say, "Well, that's a zebra!"

This was Dr. Kiehl's second time participating in the show and he submitted six pieces.

To learn more about the role of UHN pathologists, read the Laboratory Medicine Program's FAQ.

Inner Workings

The Inner Workings art show came to be after a Brain Tumour Advocates summit in San Francisco. Speakers shared what they had done to raise awareness for the brain tumour community. Maureen was in attendance and heard about an organization facilitating an art show to fulfi​l a patients' bucket list wish.

The idea was, "shamelessly stolen," laughs Maureen, and has now snowballed into an annual event for the Pencer Centre.

"One of our patients came up with the name, 'Inner Workings'," says Maureen. "It instantly struck a chord, and highlights the positivity that can be seen from the brain tumour community.

"We have an incredible group of patients, volunteers, and clinicians, and it is wonderful being able to exhibit their talent and creativity."

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