Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Science and art collide to explore parasites and health

The mere thought of head lice or roundworm can be enough to make you scratch but its hoped a painting on display in Wagga Wagga will encourage people to look at parasites in a different light.

photo of Associate Professor Shokoofeh Shamsi and Christine Bolton, Team Leader Programs, Promotions and Partnerships Wagga City LibraryGraham Centre researcher and member of the Council of the Australian Society for Parasitology Associate Professor Shokoofeh Shamsi has been involved in bringing the painting Gula Guri mayin to the Wagga Wagga City Library.

The painting by Indigenous artist Bernard Lee Singleton explores themes of parasites and health is on loan from the Australian Society for Parasitology.

Gula Guri mayin means 'Heal the body' and the work is an interpretation of parasitic lifecycle giving the message that people live in a world of the parasite, not the other way around.

"The Australian Society for Parasitology entered into a unique partnership with a group of artists in Far North Queensland and the result is Gula Guri mayin," Professor Shamsi said.

"The painting gives an overview of eight parasites that affect people in Australia, including strongyloides stercoralis (roundworm),  Pediculus humanus capitis (head louse) and Hymenolepis nana (Dwarf Tapeworm).

"I hope the exhibition will encourage people to learn more about parasites and how they are transmitted to people and cause disease.

"It's also an opportunity to engage the community in science in a different way, through art."

Associate Professor Shamsi is from Charles Sturt University's (CSU) School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

The Gula Guri mayin project was funded through the Australian Government's Inspiring Australia initiative.

The artist Bernard Lee Singleton was born in Cairns and raised in the small Aboriginal community of Coen, Cape York. Watch him at work here.

The painting is on display at the lower ground level of the Wagga Wagga City Library.

Caption: Associate Professor Shokoofeh Shamsi and Wagga Wagga City Library Team Leader Programs, Promotions and Partnerships Ms Christine Bolton with the painting Gula Guri mayin