Annaleen Louwes: Black and white and (some) kind of blue or I only want to be happy.


At an invitation of Beautiful Distress – a Dutch organsiation aiming to create more awareness and acceptance in society for the mentally ill – photographer Annaleen Louwes stayed for three months as an artist-in-residence in the Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, New York, in the fall of 2014.

In an interview on the website of Beautiful Distress Louwes explains: ‘I was the odd man out, in every respect. Photography is for these people a picture, proof for an identity card, or a large mural on the wall of an idyllic scene with palm trees. But it is not an art form, while I am an artist. The idea of art they did comprehend but in the form of therapy, like drama therapy for example.  But I couldn’t sort myself into that kind of category. Around the hospital lived mostly poor African Americans and Latinos. I remained the intruder. I found this to be very complicated. I felt very humble and small, because of their pain, I was walking around there. For them I remained the white lady, which evokes distrust as well as respect. I went there the white European, to combat against the stigma of ‘poor black crazies’, by making photographs, which just produces more stigmas instead of less. For me that was a real struggle and it took awhile before I found a solution for both issues, in my head and in my work.’

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After a year, in which three Dutch artists will have lived and worked  in the hospital, an exhibition will be organized in New York which will  show the world of psychiatry based on works by i.a. the artists who have participated in the Kings County project.

Beautiful Distress, together with the Kings County Hospital Center and the Consulate in New York, has started talks with a well-known  New York Museum, NY to organize an exhibition in 2015. The exhibition will be included in a more comprehensive exhibition that will subsequently be organized in Amsterdam.

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Black and white and (some) kind of blue or: I only want to be happy


Annaleen Louwes


Esther Noyons


Annaleen Louwes




softcover, staples


21 x 29,7 cm








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