Artist tells story of grandmother’s time in CIA mind-control experiment in new exhibit

CBC News
By Jamie-Lee McKenzie
November 9, 2018

“Wearing a costume that looks like a young man wearing a doctor’s jacket in the 1950s, Sarah Anne Johnson dances slowly with a life-size doll wearing a hospital gown that’s fallen open at the back.

It’s an art installation and performance piece called The Cave, part of an exhibition at the Julie Saul Gallery in New York.

The doll represents Johnson’s maternal grandmother, Velma Orlikow, the wife of former Winnipeg North MP David Orlikow.

“I wanted people to feel empathy for her,” the Winnipeg artist said.

In the 1950s, Orlikow sought treatment for postpartum depression at Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal and unknowingly became a subject in the mind-control experiments of a CIA-funded American doctor.

Patients were subjected to a series of mind-control experiments, including shock and drug therapies and induced prolonged sleep.”

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