Story Of Slava

History of insane asylums is an interesting story. The oldest one in Croatia has an exhibition gallery named after one female artist. The critics overlooked her work for decades although she was a talented watercolourist that exhibited across Europe.

Why should we have an interest in her? I decided to continue posting about people who suffered disability, mental ill-health and terminal illness and despite all of this managed to produce works of value. Sometimes it seems to me that society today is discarding people as useless for no good reason. When I look at biographies of many people considered great, it seems that despite the lack of activism in their time, they had more opportunities not to end up on the margins.

Slava Raskaj, the painter I started to talk about, was born deaf. Moreover, she suffered severe depression and died of tuberculosis which was a terminal illness back then. You can see more on her life and works here and here. Please take a look at her astonishing work on the second link. She didn’t create much, but she is the pride in Croatian art, and she belongs to Europe of her time. Her work is considered today the hight of Croatian impressionism.

She ended the life in the above mentioned insane asylum in 1906. It had a different name back then. I remember strolling through space, among the old buildings and reaching the gallery. My friend had her work exhibited there.

So why aren’t people like painter Slava Raskaj accepted into the mainstream today? Was it more difficult in her time, or is it more difficult now and why? I would love to read your comments on the topic.

7 Replies to “Story Of Slava”

  1. This made me think of the provincial forensic psychiatric hospital here. For much of the 1900s, it operated a farm, with the patients doing the work. The farm was one of the most award-winning in Canada, and it was the forensic psychiatric patients who made that happen. It’s easy to assume that people who are ill can’t do anything, but people just need to open their eyes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so interested in the history of the asylums. Could you give me more details so I can research a bit?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, I didn’t. I just read Foucault in uni and got some books on asylums years ago but never got a chance to touch them. I had to work on other things. This is new to me.

      Like

  2. I think it is much difficult in her time because of the stigma of mental health. Now I am interested looking at her work. I read one fictional book about this asylum but is based on a real asylum facility.

    Liked by 1 person

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