Sunday, 19 September 2010


Wellcome Collection is a ‘free destination for the incurably curious,’ and after my experience this slogan couldn’t be more apt. Housing the incredible collection of Sir Henry Wellcome, a philanthropist, archaeologist and inventor, this free destination hosts events, exhibitions, collections and includes a world–renowned library and bookshop.

I headed down to 183 Euston Road to check out the ‘Skin’ exhibition (only running until 26 September so hurry!) and left feeling considerably more informed. The exhibition does exactly what it says on the tin and explores the functions and meanings of the skin we live in. From plastic surgery to the diagnosis of diseases, every aspect of skin is examined.

For me, one of the most interesting displays was artist Tamsin van Essen’s exploration of skin diseases through the decoration of apothecary jars. One ceramic jar on show was covered in tiny pustules to represent acne, another’s surface was flaking demonstrating the effects of psoriasis. Despite the fact that these are devastating conditions, the jars were intriguing and made me want to linger.

Skin decoration is also explored with images of traditional Maori tattoos and more disturbing pictures of the effects of self-harming. This exhibition is thought provoking, insightful and interesting and you will definitely go away thinking about our attitudes to skin and quite probably feeling quite differently about your own. Highly recommended.

By Amy Peck

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