CREATORS – Tahani Baakdhah

In ALL, CREATORS by Alice Fleerackers

Name: Tahani Baakdhah

Which came first in your life, the science or the art?

Art was always part of my journey in life. During elementary and high school days, I was a member of art club and regularly participated in painting, drawing, sewing, and textile art classes. I developed many skills back then that helped me in building my art career.

I was also taking a science major in high school and continued attending medical school right after. Studying both science and medicine inspired me to use my passion for art in medical and scientific illustrations. Using illustrations, all complex science ideas become easy to understand. So I tried to be creative in illustration using crocheted 3D models.

“Using illustrations, all complex science ideas become easy to understand.”

Tahani Baakdhah
Crocheted Heart sciart by Tahani Baakdhah
Heart by Tahani Baakdhah
Crocheted heart and brain sciart by Tahani Baakdhah
Heart and Brain by Tahani Baakdhah
Crocheted Liver SciArt by Tahani Baakdhah
Liver by Tahani Baakdhah

Which sciences relate to your art practice?

I started crocheting retinal stem cells and retinal neurons, as this is my field of study, in a project called “#crochetyourphd”. I shared all the patterns at my Etsy shop and in my book Crocheting Neuroscience: The Retina. I then branched out, crocheting many science and medical models outside my field with the aim of communicating science with the public and science lovers everywhere. I want to make science accessible to everyone.

What materials do you use to create your artworks?

Yarn is my paint and the hook is my brush. My imagination is the fuel to my creativity.

Crocheted Cancer Cell SciArt by Tahani Baakdhah
Cancer Cell by Tahani Baakdhah
Crocheted Embryology Model Sciart by Tahani Baakdhah
Embryology Models by Tahani Baakdhah
Crocheted Stem Cell and Neuron SciArt by Tahani Baakdhah
Stem Cell and Neuron by Tahani Baakdhah

Artwork/Exhibition you are most proud of:

Exhibiting my retinal neurons at UofT (Koffler student centre) as part of a “Narrating Neuroscience” event. I also had the opportunity to participate in a Sciart panel organized by SciArt Salon, which took place at the Field Institute in 2017.

Which scientists and/or artists inspire and/or have influenced you?

I was inspired by Dr. Anne Cooke and Dr. Helen Featherstone and their Knit-a-Neuron project. I was honored to instruct a workshop about the project, along with @scicommto members during the Maker Festival here in Toronto.

I also follow many scientists/crocheters who inspire and motivate me to explore myself and accept new challenges: Dr Karen Norberg, Margaret Wertheim (@margaretwerth), Ana Maria Porras (@AnaMaPorras), Alexandra Nobre (@anobre1), Laura Cameron (@LittleRedLauraC), Steph Conos (@DrStephC), and Teresa Ambrosio (@Teresaambrosio_).

Crocheted Epilepsy Awareness SciArt by Tahani Baakdhah
Epilepsy Awareness by Tahani Baakdhah
Crocheted Cerebral Palsy Awareness sciart by Tahani Baakdhah
Cerebral Palsy Awareness by Tahani Baakdhah

Find out more about Tahani Baakdhah at their website, Instagram, or Twitter.

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About the Author

Alice Fleerackers

Alice is a freelance writer, a researcher at the ScholCommLab, and an editor at the Art the Science blog. With degrees in both psychology and publishing, she is fascinated by the confluence of science and story, and is passionate about bringing research into everyday life. As a journalist, she’s had the pleasure of interviewing media specialists, psychotherapists, anthropologists, and many others on everything from the psychology of cat videos to the “science” of astrology. In her spare time, she rides her bike, dabbles in spoon carving, and—yes—occasionally, reads her horoscope. Twitter: @FleerackersA