Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2013

Alexis Dawn Ely
Unhinge
Alexis Dawn Ely
Unhinge

Hidden behind decayed buildings and No Trespassing signs lies a painful and gruesome history of thousands of forgotten souls. Lost within the long history of mental institutions and the stigma of mental illness, many have perished due to neglect, abuse and malpractice. I created this body of work to memorialize and honor these isolated and rejected souls; tossed into the afterlife in unnamed cremation canisters still found within the grounds of these oppressive institutions. Today those suffering from mental illness continue to face these stigmas, and continue to suffer from feelings of loneliness and fear. My thesis directly engages with the idea that in order to prevent further abuses and to ensure dramatic societal improvement for the mentally ill, we need to reveal and expose the atrocities of the past through visual representations. To that end, each sculptural piece represents a different oppressive treatment used by mental institutions from the 1830s until today.

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