Season 2 Episode 1: Outsider Art, Racism and Madness with Issa Ibrahim

Join us for a conversation with Issa Ibrahim where we discuss how racism has affected his experiences of madness and institutionalization, and how radical creativity and underground community led to his escape.

Topics we discuss include:

  • Coming of age as a black man in Queens and being driven “crazy” by racism. 
  • Smuggling internet into an asylum and connecting with the radical mental health movement.
  • Structural competency and how mental institutions ignore racism.
  • The joker in the White House, waiting for Superman, and limitations of the heroic narrative.
  • The protest psychosis - how schizophrenia became a "black disease."

About Issa:

Issa Ibrahim is an artist, writer, musician and filmmaker born in 1965 in Jamaica, New York. He has been the Artist-In-Residence at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center’s Living Museum since 1992. Issa is also the author of the 2016 memoir THe Hospital Always Wins, published by Chicago Review Press.

Issa’s artist statement: “My interest in the politics of race, mental illness, and popular culture informs my range of subject matter. I am telling a parallel narrative. My life as a psych patient, a flawed Superman, learning to navigate the many identities I had to assume in the system in order to survive various barriers to freedom, in addition to exposing the Everyman in the world at large. We are living in a comic strip, with plenty of super villains and heroes, love stories, cliffhangers, absurdist comedy and heartbreaking tragedy. With equal parts whimsy and warning, I use familiar icons in historical settings as reflections and metaphors for our own bankrupt culture.”


Find Issa online:

On the web: Http://

On instagram: @issaibrahim065

On YouTube: Http://


Links to relevant resources:


Links to So Many Wings’ social media and website

On the web:

On Instagram:

On Facebook:

On Patreon: