Tuba K 
Oil on canvas 
Painting size: 34×34″ 
Painting by Mark Gilbert

Tuba’s story

Tuba is an 8-year-old girl who at the time of this painting lived with her parents and two sisters in London. Her parents, who come from Turkey, spoke little English but Tuba and her sisters were fluent. At that time Tuba’s 13-year-old sister wanted to be a lawyer whilst Tuba wanted to be a doctor. Tuba started to develop two painless, but unsightly, swellings on the right side of her nose and around the outside of her right eye in 1998. These grew steadily and upset Tuba so that she changed from her normal outgoing personality into a rather shy, reclusive character.

She was also teased at school. These benign growths were caused by abnormal collections of blood vessels in the bones (cavernous haemangiomas).

In 2000, these growths were reduced in an operation. To avoid facial scarring, the growths were approached and reduced through an incision over the top of the head and the scalp was then “peeled down” to expose the bones of the face (bicoronal flaps). The scalp was replaced at the end of the operation and sutured in place.