If the scientists of the future ever want material to clone Beatle John Lennon, they need look no further than the work of Canadian artist Kirsten Zuk. That’s because Zuk’s latest bust, a portrait of the rock star with his signature shaggy haircut and a cap perched on his head, contains a fragment of Lennon’s actual molar.
The molar was originally given by Lennon to his housekeeper Dot Jarlett sometime between 1964 and 1968. In the slightly creepy fashion befitting of a global celebrity, the musician suggested that Jarlett give the tooth to her daughter, a big Beatles fan. The gift stayed in the family ever since, but Jarrett, now 90, decided that it was time to pass it on. Lennon’s fang turned out to be a good investment — it was sold by the British Omega Auction House in 2011 for $31,200 to a Canadian cosmetic dentist who happened to be Kirsten Zuk’s brother, Michael Zuk.
Kirsten Zuk — a “huge fan” of Lennon all her life, according to the Edmonton Sun — came up with the idea to turn a fragment of the tooth into an artwork. The piece will be on display during Edmonton’s Fringe Festival, where the artist hopes it will raise awareness and donations for Smile Train, a charity devoted to providing children who live in poverty with free cleft palate surgery. What might become of the sculpture afterward, as with the fate of the rest of the tooth, has yet to be seen. “This is like a time-capsule,” Zuk said. “It will contain his DNA.”