Samantha Yunes

Type-1 Diabetes Unearthed

The Scholar: Samantha Yunes

The Project: Type-1 Diabetes Unearthed

The Essential Question: “I’m a type one diabetic myself and I’ve always very open about it. I just love educating people and I also love art, so this is a time to just combine two of my favorite things and just share a piece of myself with the community. So my pieces all resemble aspects of my own life and how type one diabetes affects it, and I also just want to kind of give people an opportunity to look in if they’ve never experienced it or just have no knowledge whatsoever. This is the kind of time to objectively just observe art pieces that have connections to me.”

Surprising Discovery: “I definitely had to learn—change—my way of how I just complete an art piece. Some of these took a lot more planning. In fact, one of them I’ve been planning for almost two years now, so much more extensive planning than I’ve ever done for any of my pieces. The one with insulin vials, I’ve been collecting those vials for two years now. Those are actual vials that I have used, along with a few of my friends. So I just definitely had to learn—that was unexpected. It was just learning how to really plan everything, because sometimes I’ll just go by the flow and if a mistake happens, that’s fine. I will just incorporate it somehow.”

Biggest Challenge: “Time constraint. For the insulin vials, I had this whole plan of how to hang them up so I could transfer [them]. I created the image first, so then I could transfer the same image while it was hanging. I think I made like seven backup plans and I’m on like the 10th one now. There was just so many unforeseen situations that happen. For example, it’s all tangled right now, so I have to untangle that, which will take a bit. But it’ll get figured out in the end.”

Tip for Future Scholars: “Do something you love. For me, even though I’m going through like all these issues—I’m on my 10th backup plan—I’m still loving every second of it because it is something I’m interested in, I want to share, I’m determined, and I just enjoy it the entire time. So even though it is difficult, it’s just something I love.”

What do your two pieces represent? “They’re all a little bit different. So the insulin vials themselves, they’re hanging, they’re sharing a piece of me, how physically—how many insulin vials I and my friends will use. On the bottom of them, there’s an image of a blood drop with a blue circle around it. The blue circle is the symbol for diabetes, and the blood drop is often just associated with that. Having them hang down is just kind of representing an extra piece of life that is an extension, but it is not part of me. I think of it as like a little string that’s attached to me. I kind of just carry around. It’s there, but it’s not its own thing that can make a beautiful image. The brains themselves, there are 10 brains and there is one gold brain out of the 10, and that’s for the statistic. One in 10 people are diagnosed with diabetes. That one brain, that one gold brain, represents the diabetic brain and out of it are all these glucose tabs, which I, as a diabetic myself, I actually use those to show those are spilling out of the brain. That is kind of something I’m thinking about, and it’s just an extra piece that’s in the mind. And I’m showing all the plastic brains are all stacked up, making this very abstract image to show how different everyone is and how everyone perceives things differently.”