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.

Photo taken by first-time contributor Susan Spangenberg, a painter, writer, and actor who performs under the stage name Shyla Idris. Susan has spent the last twenty years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. She believes in the power of transcendence through the arts. She is a self-taught outsider artist who has been a member of Fountain House Gallery, H.A.I. (Healing Arts Initiative), and The Living Museum. Her work is autobiographical, commenting on her experience in the mental health system. She is currently writing her memoir, tentatively titled ‘Suicide Girl’, based on her childhood and later stay at the infamous Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. She has previously published two photography books, both of which were photographed on the grounds of a century old New York State Insane Asylum. Susan dedicates her work to her late twin brother, Robbie, and survivors everywhere.

About this photo: “Finding smiling faces in an evening meal. “Happy Face Oil In Frying Pan” 2015 NYC.”

Find more from Susan at her website.


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

*Facebook & Twitter @BrokenLighCo & @DanielleHark. Follow for e-mail notifications.

2 responses to “Happy Face”

  1. toniandrukaitis Avatar

    I make happy faces too!


  2. V S Antony Avatar

    Perception and understanding of mental health problems by our society whether in the West or East is in a primitive stage.


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