Photo Essay: Made In A Cage

Whilst on commission with Solemen Indonesia, I encountered a lonely figure by the name of Made (Ma-Day) sitting in a solitary cell with only the thoughts in his head to keep him company. Since early 2012, the 40-something year old Balinese man living had been living in a homemade cell, which is attached to a house he used to call home. 

With a history of mental illness and with the lack of mental health care in the country, Made had shown aggressive behaviour towards his community, which they in turn were forced to lock him in a barren cage. With the community’s fear towards him, they felt they had no other option. Setting foot inside his cage was truly an experience in itself. Markings were visible on the walls while Made developed some sort of comfort by tying plastic bags to the doors of his cage. 

Solemen Indonesia had first met Made in 2014, where he was huddle naked in the corner of his cell. With no access to food or water, his living conditions were truly shocking. Solemen had successfully run a campaign, which surpassed their targets to help Made. By 2016, Made is now free from his cage and is earning money by collecting trash locally. He is now living in his old house next to his defunct cage.

A happy ending indeed, but this set of photographs shows only a small example of the attitude towards mental illness in Indonesia. 


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