Dakar's Biennale showcases artwork by psychiatric patients

STORY: Dakar’s Biennale showcases artwork from psychiatric patients

challenging conventional ideas about mental health

(Alassane Seck / Art tutor, Moussa Diop psychiatric clinic) “For us the Biennale is a window. It's a window that allows us to see that the perception we have in Senegal that psychiatry means crazy is wrong. Here there is a cultural and artistic life, experienced by the patients, their families, companions and even the doctors. So there is more than just pills, we need to be able to separate both. The people I spoke about earlier the outpatients, they come here as artists, they work for hours, they have a path, they have their ambitions.”

Psychologists say art therapy helps patients process and resolve negative thoughts

The exhibition aims to highlight the importance of therapeutic art

in a region where mental health remains taboo

(Fatima Diop / Patient and artist ) “Here in African society we are poorly looked upon. As soon as they know you've been hospitalized at the Fann hospital, they don't trust you, it's a problem. You take your medicine, you recover, but when you try to get your place back in society, it's not easy. So staying at home without anything to do is boring, that's why we are here.”

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