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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Bologna and Imola Lunatic Asylum in Sketches

I didn't have any time for sketching whilst I was in Bologna, so all of these were made from photographs which I took whilst dashing across the city and visiting Imola (a nearby town).

I spotted this industrial metal tower whilst walking along the ring road. Not sure what it's function is but I am quite happy with how this sketch turned out.

Bologna is known as "the red city"; someone in Rome informed me that this is because the majority of people vote for socialist parties. However, the region is also famous for making bricks and so, most of the buildings are a dusky red colour. I'm not sure which reason is true - perhaps both?

I'm trying to work on incorporating more light and shade into my sketches, as I realises that I usually erase the shadows and as a result my drawings / watercolours appear very flat.

This watercolour turned out a complete mess. The building is also wonky. I won't be sharing it on social media.

Boudicca decided to perch on my shoulders and "assist" me in making the next two sketches.

I went to Imola to visit my friend who lives there with her family, where the rest of my art collective were staying. She took us on a tour of the town, including the derelict lunatic asylum. She told us about the history of the site and how torture of patients was common place. The hospital was closed down after the psychiatric reform in Italy put an end to the social exclusion and segregation of mental health patients in the 1970-90s. It was a disturbing and eerie place to visit, but very relevant to the purpose of our visit to Bologna which was mental health advocacy through art.

I found the yellow paint and palm trees to be totally incongruous with the context.

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