Compos Mentis

An illustration of a woman with a bomb strapped to her body with a book in her face and eyes in the background.

Artist: Stephanie Henderson
Year: 2011
Medium: Ink and colour pencil on paper
Artist Statement: This illustration portrays a mad woman surrounded by some of the negative aspects of the mental health system. Her pyjamas remind us of the subordination institutions often mandate. The background of bloodshot eyes demonstrates the concept of the panopticon, an open-concept architecture of modern asylums developed for constant surveillance. The copy of the DSM in the subject’s face symbolizes her loss of identity to her clinical diagnostic; the vest of empty pill bottles highlights the dangerous and self-destructive nature of popular psychoactive drugs.