In 2018, while exploring abandoned locations in rural Aberdeenshire, Colleen Mahoney came across an abandoned hospital in Maud. It had once been a mental asylum in the late 1800’s. Those incarcerated there were labelled as “Lunatics” or “Imbeciles” for just being deaf or having a physical disability. After finding this abandoned hospital it sparked an interest in the history of mental illness and the way that inmates in these institutions had been treated.
Mahoney’s work portrays the rooms that she recorded in this hospital and the traces of the people who once lived there. Vintage wallpaper and interior décor in clinical shades of blue, yellow and pink were very prominent when she visited and these observations informed the decisions that she made when making her paintings. Her interior/exterior compositions link to the idea that those people were confined to these small rooms for years, banished from society but longing for freedom. Mahoney wants her work to represent those patients and their confused, misunderstood, frame of mind.
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