Brains set to take the streets of Toronto


Michelle Vella with Iris Apfel.

The fourth annual Yogen Früz Brain project is bringing together about 50 Canadian and international artists to transform empty models of the human brain into unique works of art. Its founders hope the book will stimulate public discussion about dementia in an effort to raise $ 1 million for research and brain health at Baycrest Health Sciences, the world's leading research on aging and brain health.

Erica and Noah Godfrey are honorary co-chairs of the Brain Project. "This is Erica's baby. He went beyond what she and we dreamed, raising more than $ 3 million from the start, "said Noah Godfrey. "Brain health and Alzheimer's have touched our family, and that's part of the message-it touches everyone's family.All of us have a brain.Imagine.There are things we can do today and things our kids can do to make sure their brain is functioning optimally as they age. "

According to the World Health Organization, there are about 50 million people living with dementia worldwide and almost 10 million new cases each year. Although rare, younger people may also have dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada, early-onset dementia accounts for two to eight percent of all cases of dementia. Sixteen thousand Canadians under 65 are living with dementia from early onset.

"If we can delay the onset of dementia within five years, we can reduce its population prevalence by about one-third – that's a significant number," said Josh Cooper, president and CEO of the Baycrest Foundation.


In a recent media release, The CJN talked to some of the artists and peeked in on the 50 brains that are ready to grace the city streets in the Greater Toronto area on July 2.

Each brain sculpture tells a personal story. The artist Orit Fuchs, who lives and works in Tel Aviv, is a storyteller with a deep appetite for creative self-expression. "This project was very personal," Fuchs said. "My parents in their later years were suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's, so it was familiar to me – and very painful."

The Orit Fuchs Brain Eater

Fuchs brain sculpture, called The Brain Dining Room, resembles the classic video game Pac Man. "I visualized the cells in the brain (like) small dots and the Pac-Man (the disease) eating them slowly.

I chose to leave some of the pointsless paths because Pac-Man has already eaten them – they are already lost, "Fuchs explained.

Artist Gina Godfrey is a prolific abstract artist and portraitist, engraver and curator who previously created three brains for the project. At this year's exhibition, his brain, titled Deep thoughts, is made with mixed media and ink jewels. "Every brain in the world has some deep thoughts," Godfrey said. "My play is very personal, because it's my brain."

Godfrey describes the piece as follows: "Deep thoughts travel through my brain in a very colorful way from the little person brilliantly studded on the stem … reaching out, moving with a flow of ideas … The pastel rainbow of colors has movement, as a flashing signal. The gold jewels embellished on the stem also represent a person who is vibrant and is constantly thinking ".

Gina Godfrey with her brain of "Deep Thoughts".

Dani Fine Lines is an art program for young people and adults with developmental disabilities. His play, Superhero in the mirror, tells the story of a fascination of superhero movies.

"Just like superheroes, the ways of artists in life are paved with attempts to show people around them glimpses of what they see in themselves – powerful personalities and many skills, despite what they might find," said Anna Gruzman , Dani's recreational programs. Manager. "Putting mirrors on superheroes kind of forces the person looking into the mirror to see themselves as powerful, beautiful and capable."

Michelle Vella is a portrait painter who specializes in drawing celebrities with large, open eyes. "The inspiration behind the design of my brain was the fashion icon Iris Apfel. She is a vibrant woman of 97 years, known for her great jewelry, great trinkets and bracelets, and her black frame glasses. Iris is an excellent representation of brain well-being and what we all hope to have in our 90's, "Vella said.

The work will be on display from July 2 to August 31 at various venues in Toronto, including Nathan Phillips Square, the Distillery District, Brookfield Place and Union Station.

To learn more about the Brain Project, visit


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