Who we are & why we are

Welcome to the gallery site of Broken Light Collective. We are artists of all levels and abilities who are affected by mental illness. We create and we share our work for the therapeutic benefits to us, as well as others who may be struggling and feeling scared and alone. Together we can move from disconnected to collective.

Nanette_Freeman16 Nanette_Freeman9 Nanette_Freeman4 Nanette_Freeman19

Photo taken by first-time contributor Nanette Rae Freeman, a former librarian from Chicago and Memphis who lost her husband of 25 years in a violent motorcycle accident. She began making art as part of her grieving process. Nanette was a librarian at The Chicago Public Library for 23 years serving community members in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. She attributes her obsession for working with diverse populations to her childhood spent accompanying her father who owned, operated and repaired pinball machines, jukeboxes and vending machines in bowling alleys, funky businesses in garages, and taverns throughout Chicago. Nanette is sure her husband, Fred Dech, is amused to see her working with found blown-out tires as a photographic material as it echoes their shared longing for the unusual, which they pursued throughout their lives together.

About this photo: “My husband was killed on July 18, 2011, on a motorcycle speeding down the Dan Ryan Expressway on his way to work. In the wake of this unfathomable loss, I began to find fascination in the remains of blown out tires on the expressway. One day the violent energy of a blow out jolted me to the point that I felt compelled to stop and retrieve it. I finally had something tangible that evoked feelings of trauma, violence and even death. I found a surprising comfort in the physicality of the mangled tire. It connected me to my husband, Fred, whose body and mind I lost in this harrowing accident.

For this body of work, I’ve been employing found blown-out tire shreds to document them as a photographic material. I photograph them in a way that exemplifies their physical features which helps me interpret and transform them. The rendering of rich textures aims to inspire memories of skin, hair and other humanizing elements– elements torn and obliterated from their former shape, which is very much like the relationship I now share with my husband.”

Find more from Nanette at her website.


**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here ▸ Now a 501(c)3 non-profit! Please donate here.

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3 responses to “Loss-Grief-Memory”

  1. Hank shaw Avatar
    Hank shaw

    These are very strong and effective images impressive work and I’m very sorry to hear about your loss

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I Mean Well. Avatar
    I Mean Well.

    These are powerful photos. Very sorry for your loss.


  3. bluebrightly Avatar

    Brilliant! You have succeeded in drawing the viewer in to these “transitional objects. ” An inspiring story too, but the photos are certainly strong enough to stand on their own, without understanding the background.


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