Engla Louise by Sanna Sjöswärd - permanent 591 exhibition

The 591 Exhibition "Engla Louise" was originally published 28 March, 2009. Since then it has been one of our most viewed and appreciated online exhibitions. It ended in May, 2009 so you have not been able to see the slide show since then. But thanks to Sanna Sjöswärd you will now have "Engla Louise" as a permanent exhibition on 591.

I have included Sanna's original text here that was published in the introduction. See INTRODUCTION for more. - Mr Urbano
Website of photographer: sannafoto.se/ny

Engla Louise Lernäs is 29 years. She weighs 24 kg (53 pounds) and is lying with an intravenous drip in the emergency medicine department at Uppsala. Yet it is uncertain whether she can stay. There are plans to move her to the psychiatric department, where she cannot get any physical care.

It began when she was only eleven years. Engla Louise cut thin, thin slices of the bread and she became thinner and thinner. Even at that young age she sought psychiatric help in Uppsala. But she was too young to have any real treatment for anorexia.

Now Engla Louise lives in a white room at the University Hospital in Uppsala. She has a needle in her arm and a bag of intravenous drip pumps slowly entering the nutriment into her body for her to survive. A few days later she went down two kilos more and when doctors tried to give her food the body said no. She was simply too weak.

“I became unconscious several times, but the doctors managed to resuscitate me,” she says. There and then she got the will to fight against the disease.

Since February, she has lost 22 kg and now weighs only 24 kg. She wants to show herself and talk openly about her illness to prevent others to end up in the same situation.

Now Engla Louise is living at Capio Anorexia Center in Upplands Väsby. She is still bedridden, but she will soon start exercises with physiotherapists. She is weighed at regular intervals; she meets with a therapist once a week and eats six servings a day. She is served small portions of food at precise times. The staff is extremely careful to serve it at the right time.
It has been tough for Engla Louise. The anxiety is strong and it hurts to have to put food into you. An internal voice says she should not eat. At the same time she knows that she cannot stay there if she doesn't eat the food. So she is fighting against that voice as much she can. 

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that primarily affects young women, from young teens to the 30s. An eating disorder has different causes depending on the person. Both psychological and genetic factors may be behind the disease. Another factor is the Western ideal of beauty. Models, ballet dancers and elite athletes are some groups that have an extra high risk of anorexia.

Text and photos © Sanna Sjöswärd