LETTER TO MY MOTHER
Letter to My Mother: 11 days, 1200 miles by ground, 7518 miles by air; 6 states, 40 women and their children. Mila, Tabatha, Lisa, Chelsey, Ellie, Jo, Lenor, Melissa, Jade, Amanda, Alexis, Britanni, Elizabeth, Polly, Terry, Melissa, Debbie, Claudia, Andrea, Holly, Chris, Patricia, Susan, Tiffany, Maria, Anna, Rachel, Nikki, Amanda, Elizabeth, Serenity, Claire, Lisa, Tamerica, Adrianne, Nangie, Kate, and Valene.
Letter to My Mother is a visual and literary body of work created by artist Branislav Jankic that seeks to raise awareness of and change the conversation around addiction in order to lift the stigma and create an international support system for those suffering from this disease. Particularly, mothers. When the artist’s mother, a former prescription drug and alcohol addict, was diagnosed with lung cancer in November 2012, Jankic, who had experienced his own struggles with addiction throughout his teenage years, began writing a letter to his mother expressing his regrets for their dismantled relationship and his misunderstanding of her struggles, hoping to show both love and forgiveness.
On a quest to re-asses and reconcile his relationship with his mother after this painful diagnosis, he set off on a journey to bring to the forefront a narrative that is often left hidden – to produce a dialogue about motherhood and addiction outside of its stereotypically taboo associations. He was hoping to find pieces of his mother amongst other mothers suffering from addiction in the United States, which Jankic considers his home, ultimately creating one large amalgamated portrait of her through their photographs and letters, which were then published into a book, Letter to My Mother.
In the short timeframe that Jankic and his longtime friend and producer Goran Macura had to execute the project, Macura was able to reach out to 40 women across the United States, who were willing to participate in the project. Jankic and Macura traveled all over the country to meet and photograph these brave mothers and their children. By doing this, the experience was not only helpful for Jankic, but also for the contributing mothers and their children, who now had a platform to communicate their feelings through the letters and images.
Jankic’s ultimate goal for the project has become raising awareness for addiction as an illness, not a weakness, encouraging people to speak more freely about the disease, and inspiring women and mothers to seek help. In order for a new dialogue around addiction to commence, Branislav shows mothers with addiction in a different light, hoping to change societal perception of them. Funding raised by this project will be donated to recovery homes that help mothers with addiction and their children in the United States.
Branislav Jankic, born in 1983 in Vukovar (former Yugoslavia), is an artist and photographer living and working in New York. After finishing his studies in Germany in 2008, Jankic travelled to Milan, where he met the distinguished photographer Gian Paolo Barbieri, who became his mentor. Upon moving to New York in 2009, Jankic had the opportunity to work with renowned fashion photographer Bruce Weber. Jankic is now a multi-media artist drawing on his own life experiences combining childhood memories, cultural traditions, tales, and rituals along with studies in philosophy and psychology. He looks to use his personal experiences and immediate environment to create artworks that speak to his audience in a wider context. His most recent exhibition, Flowers of My Life, was shown in Milan in March of 2016.