The painting by Nahid



“When I have absences, I don’t see very clearly, but sometimes, when it feels so big and I feel frightened, then it’s almost as if I’m hallucinating, nightmares. So when I look at somebody, they look different, unlike a human.”

Maartje Nevejan:

“So what does it look like?”


“It varies, sometimes it is hard to say…”

Nahid’s family originates from Bangladesh. He is the youngest of six children. Nahid spent a lot of time alone at the house. When Nahid was 3 years old, his father died suddenly. Until that moment, Nahid had been a normal, happy kid, his mum says. But after his dad passed away, he became scared of everything. He was very sad and used to cry out all day long: “Where is he?” Soon after, he had absences and his mother didn’t know where Nahid had gone. “He was always scared, scared, scared.” His mother was alone with the children and ran a restaurant on her own.

Probably as a result of his epilepsy, Nahid developed a brain disorder. He could no longer attend a regular primary school. Now, Nahid commutes every day by bus to de Waterlelie school at SEIN, a center of excellence for epilepsy and sleep medicine. Inside Nahid’s head it is noisy, his head feels big and he can’t stand letters. He also has issues with the digital blackboard. He has a notebook in which he writes stories and the Bangladeshi alphabet. He also draws emoticons to indicate how he feels. Pages full of emoticons. He often has nightmares. “Then somebody who looks like another is standing there and looks at me.”

Artist Ruud Lanfermeijer has taken him, for the first time, to the Rijksmuseum. Never before had Nahid seen anything as beautiful. “I can’t believe I’m actually walking here, everybody should see this, it is so amazingly beautiful and I’m here, with a real artist…” Together they looked for secrets hidden in the paintings and they decided to make a painting about Nahid’s secrets. A painting from Nahid, about Nahid and by Nahid.

A painting as a place and a portal into the fantasy world of Nahid. A world in which darkness and light, black and white and colour, happiness and fear, come together. Where Nahid’s emoticons, that he uses to express his feelings on paper, page after page, will fit in. A place where Nahid himself is the gatekeeper, inviting us to enter his colourful inner world. A world filled with festivities, fireworks and personal secrets. His family was delighted to dive into Nahid’s inner world.

Click the button below to see Nahid’s VR space!