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Joanna Pallaris

The link between art and spirituality has oft been both mysterious yet palpable. The Praxis project is an effort to make the historically ethereal connection between these themes more tangible by inviting artists to describe how the two interrelate within their work. We reached out to artists and proposed to them a question: How would you define the role of spirituality within your art practice and how do you feel this affects your artwork?

Here you will find their answers.

The Anima


When we talk about spirit or soul we are referring to an immaterial entity; something we do not see but something we feel. When we look at art, a thing of surface, and can feel that power, presence or spark it is awe-inspiring. That is why it is so important to look at art in the flesh, whether ancient or contemporary. Being very sensitive to the spirit of place, I must have a feeling for something before I photograph it. I think it was Susan Sontag who described photographs as paper ghosts. The widespread indigenous belief that the camera would steal your soul stays with me and I can understand this.

Dream of Light © Joanna Pallaris

“. . . photographs as paper ghosts. . .”


The Anima (soul) and mystery are integral to my artwork, like subconscious waves continually returning. I try not to self-analyse as I feel this can destroy art’s very essence and spirit!

Winged creatures such as birds or butterflies often appear within my work. Similar to the Egyptian figure of Ba they are believed to carry the souls of the deceased. Coincidentally butterfly is psyche in Greek, which means soul.

Metamorphosis © Joanna Pallaris

“That mysterious world is sacred for me. It is pure.”

I believe we have entered a dangerous time in the last ten years or so, a time of disconnection. The superficial, selfie generation can only lead to a void. The more I see this, the more I retreat to and photograph nature and animals. That mysterious world is sacred for me. It is pure. One can never stop learning, we still know so very little.

Within my analogue photography I take double-exposures, where layers of these, ‘little skins,’ (from Latin pellicula) form to make one single image. I call this the mysterious realm where spirits meet. Unlike digital, until films are developed I do not know the outcome. I stay faithful to analogue as a medium because it remains magical and has greater depth and sensitivity. The grains are not flat and cold like digital pixels. Analogue itself has soul!

Moon Mandala © Joanna Pallaris

Poe so delicately defines art as, ‘the reproduction of what the senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul’.

Spirit Wing © Joanna Pallaris


Abraxas Journal #5

special edition

Edited by Robert Ansell and Christina Oakley Harrington


signed and numbered print by Bea Kwan Lim