My personal experience with Marina Abramovic, Mata Amritanandamayi, and Braco.

Ever since attending the Artist is Present in New York, I have always wondered about Marina Abramovic’s relation to Mata Amritanandamayi or Amma ( My time spent at the MOMA wasn’t very different than the time I spent at Darshan. Sure it was an entirely different world, but the similarities were striking. There were less devotees wearing white, and instead of an auditorium of meditation there was an atrium of focus and concentration. Both events hosted in NYC drew huge international crowds and earned much acclaim. After picking up the latest edition of “Journey”, I came across Braco, also from the Balkans. I decided I would finally write about my experience with these artists and spiritual leaders, as art and spirituality are two things I often combine in my own work.

For the MOMA, Abramovic stares for hours on end at anyone who should sit in front of her: Which on Day 2 of her 2 and half month long stint,  I had the great opportunity to face one of my greatest influences for 73 minutes. See Here

Julie Mallis and Marina Abramovic: Day 2, Portrait 8 ; 73 min


Many people came up to me afterwards questioning why I had sat for so long. I had no idea so much time had passed. I guessed that maybe 20 minutes tops had lapsed, but probably even less. Since it was so early on in her exhibition, I sat for longer than anyone yet had attempted (other than the artist herself). During this time, I fell into a deep meditation. I forgot that I was even sitting in front of her. I entered a state of astral projection, or maybe an OBE, whatever you wanna call it- I began to lift up and float around the MOMA. I went up high towards the ceilings and looked into the next floor up from the middle above the atrium. After coming back into my seat, and regaining the knowledge of where I was, I started mildly hallucinating. A big tin can rolled across the floor and a cone-shaped cage formed over Abramovic’s mouth and face. Colors and shapes popped out. I had not moved a bone for some time and felt so incredibly content and comfortable. I did not want to move and I felt no need to get up. When I had started to realize it may have been a while and my friend Charlotte was in line behind me waiting, and that I needed to catch the bus back to Philly in mere hours, the anxiety pulled me out of my meditation. I tried to get up but felt as if I was paralyzed. I didn’t know how to move. I spent probably 5 minutes, maybe it was 15, just coercing myself to move. I remember speaking to myself, “Julie, all you have to do it just stand up at once and grab your bag, thats it”. It felt like the most difficult task. Eventually I found my way outside of the vortex and walked out to be asked by dozens of viewers what had gone through my head during that long time.

On a separate note, since I was a little girl (I have lost track of the years), I have gone almost every summer with my family and The Golden Heart Meditation Group to see Amachi or Amma come to New York. She is an Indian spiritual leader who for years has toured the world hugging and blessing all who come to her free programs. She is known as the hugging saint. Her website explains “she has been known to individually hug over 50,000 people in one day, sitting sometimes for over 20 hours”. The similarities one may draw between her and the artist are immense. I encourage you to read more about Amma, one of the greatest influences of my life.

and that is where I come to Braco. I found him, like I said, in the magazine article and looked him up. He is a spiritual man who spreads love and energy, similarly to Amma, but in a more Marina-esque way. He gazes into your eyes for 5-8 minutes of healing. Even staring into the eyes of his pictures is said to have an effect. Whether or not you feel any of this is legitimate,  I encourage you to believe in something and engage in your own practice that meets your needs. I may never travel to see Braco, but he is interesting enough to read about.


In the spirit of another favorite artist of mine, Linda Montano, Art=Life and so shall Marina use spirituality with her art, just as Montano. “There is always a creative way to empower a seeming lack of power.” -Linda Montano

Namah Shivayah ❤


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