Nuru Pagla/Crazy Beautiful
Project info

'There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography.'

Thomas Szasz

When people are told that they have a mental illness, they are told that they are irrational, incapable, invalid. Believing these causes them to become more real: people become ashamed of their different way of thinking and acting, convinced that becoming normal is the answer.
But someone else has decided what normal is so faith needs to be given to their superior judgement. Agency disappears and life becomes someone else’s biography. Living with mental health problems often means living under the scrutiny of other people’s judgement.
This work is still biographical but it is an attempt to create a synthesis between the biographical and the autobiographical, to replace dictatorship with dialogue. Facing the loneliness, of chaos, and isolation commonly present in the struggle with mental illness, but weaving into this the imagination, creativity and beautiful individuality that is also found, it is a tribute to the exemplary humanity of madness.

Photos taken in the National Institute of Mental Health, Dhaka, Bangladesh. January 2015.