The Fox Got You is an art and science exhibition by photography artist Françoise Sergy. The exhibition is on view in University of Oxford Botanic Garden from Sat 4 July to Mon 31 August 2015. The exhibition celebrates six common plants which are at the origin of five major medicinal drugs:
Foxglove (Digitalis lanata / purpurea) and the drug Digoxin for the treatment of heart arrhythmia.
Goat’s rue (Galega officinalis) and the drug Metformin for diabetes.
Yew (Taxus baccata) and the cancer chemotherapy drugs Paclitaxel and Docetaxel.
Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale) and the drug Colchicine for gout.
Meadowsweet and willow (Filipendula ulmaria, Salix alba) and Aspirin.
The project started because artist Françoise Sergy is diabetic and the drug Metformin is in a subtle way keeping her alive. Plants have existed for millions of years, far longer than humans. They have had time to adapt to their environment, to evolve and deal with threats through infinitely slow genetic changes. It is not surprising that the molecules they offer us often act in mysterious ways and that we are still discovering how some of them work, despite centuries of use. Plants must be recognised for all their worth and their habitat – our natural world – should be cherished, because ultimately, it does not belong to us but to them.
The exhibition brings together the plants, the drugs, the clinicians, the patients, the people making the drugs and the scientists researching how these diseases affect our body. The artist has worked with them all over a long period. She has photographed, recorded and learned from them. Different viewpoints have been allowed to influence one another. She has been inspired by scientific images, moving freely between the worlds of plants and human biology, exploring the unfathomable complexity of living organisms. By revealing the powers behind some of the plants growing in the Botanic Garden, this exhibition offers a unique insight into the way we are made and changed by the natural world.
Included in the project are clinicians from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust; scientists at the William Harvey Research Institute, who study blood platelets; researchers at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, who study mitochondria organelles and scientists at the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology, who study cellular microtubules.
On Saturday 11 July at 2 pm, meet the artist and the scientists, clinicians and patients involved in the project, who will talk about their work and experience