Museum of Images of the Unconscious
The painting and modeling workshops stood out among the other activities of the Occupational Therapy Ward. The works produced there became a means to access the inner world of patients and were so numerous and relevant for the scientific study of psychic processes that Dr. Nise founded Museu de Imagens do Inconsciente in 1952.
The museum defines itself as a living center for study and research on visual art documents produced daily in their space. The interdisciplinary research involves clinical experience, psychology, psychiatry, cultural anthropology, history, art, and education.
With an ever-growing collection of more than 350 thousand works, the museum has the largest and most diverse display of its kind in the world, and its main works are listed by Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (Iphan).
But the initiative of creating a museum inside a psychiatric hospital, in the then distant Engenho de Dentro neighborhood, was, to say the least, unusual and exceedingly daring, mainly because it brought together works created by patients who had been declared incapable by society and by their representatives, the psychiatrists; they were people excluded from social life “because, according to the psychiatric order, they could no longer live with their families or in society.”
– Eurípedes Gomes da Cruz Junior (2015)