Ioanna Sakellaraki (b.1989) is a Greek visual artist and researcher. Her work investigates the relationship between collective cultural memory and fiction. Drawing emphasis on the photographic object, process and encounter, she explores the boundaries of a primitive, yet futuristic vision of places and people. She was recently awarded a Doctoral Scholarship for undertaking her PhD in Art after graduating from an MA Photography from the Royal College of Art. She is the recipient of The Royal Photographic Society Bursary Award 2018 and was named Student Photographer of the Year by Sony World Photography Awards 2020. In 2019, she was awarded with the Reminders Photography Stronghold Grant in Tokyo and the International Photography Grant Creative Prize. Nominations include: the Inge Morath Award by Magnum Foundation in USA, the Prix HSBC, the Prix Levallois and the Prix Voies Off in France. Her work has been exhibited internationally in art festivals and galleries with a recent solo show at the European Month of Photography in Berlin. Her projects have been featured in magazines such as The New Yorker and journals including The Guardian and Deutsche Welle. Most recently, she was invited as a guest speaker in the Martin Parr Foundation and the London Institute of Photography.
The Truth is in the Soil is a compelling, intense body of work about grief and mourning rituals in today’s Greek communities. Sparked by her father’s death, her own grieving process became the lens through which to successfully look into the collective mourning in Greek society, the intersection of ancestral rituals, private trauma and passage of time. The beautiful photography brings the viewer in a limbo between the real and the imaginary, having us look into the void of separation and loss.
Elisa Medde, FOAM Magazine
In this hybrid photography work, the Greek artist Ioanna Sakellaraki incorporates a new kind of subjectivity, intimacy, and criticism about death and loss. Perfectly merging performance and staged emotions, Ioanna has developed and broadened the language of photography as she reflects about memory, religion and mythology. The Truth is in the Soil is a dense and moving body of work: a deep contribution to the collection of tales of human struggle for meaning. She shows a broad emotional range, with pain, loss, empathy and beauty side by side.
Ângela Ferreira, Museu De Fotografia Brazil
In editing film, Sakellaraki has established similarly intricate rituals. Some of her mixed-media images transport the mourners to remote landscapes, showing only the black back sides of their garments as they gaze at mountain ranges and roiling tides. In other cases, their silhouettes appear to have decomposed, as though over time, into the very texture of their surroundings: a chain-link fence, an aging vase, a cave wall etched with chalk drawings. Sakellaraki has recast a few of the images themselves as artifacts, altering their surfaces to include cracks that suggest the delicacy and compressed depth of fossils. Her work projects a pronounced mournfulness at a time when funerary rites across the world have been disrupted, leaving the dying and the bereaved to suffer alone.
Eren Orbey, The New Yorker
Sakellaraki’s images are haunting, giving rise to contemplation without being morbid. There is a strong cultural flow of traditions being handed down to each generation. A passing of time that also seems timeless.
Kai-Lu Hsiung, RSA Films
2023: PhD in Art, Archiving the Disaster: Preservation, Separation and Encounter, Techne Doctoral Scholarship Award by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, United Kingdom
2020: MA Photography, Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom
2017: Graduate Diploma Photography, Agnès Varda School of Photography and Visual Techniques, Brussels, Belgium
2012: MA European Urban Cultures, Free University of Brussels, Manchester Metropolitan University, Tilburg University, Estonian Academy of Arts
2011: BA Communication and Media Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece/ Film Studies, Sociolinguistics, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany
Recognitions and Awards
Richard and Siobhán Coward Foundation Analogue Photography Grant 2021
Prix HSBC pour la photographie– Finalist
Belfast Exposed Futures Artists 2020– Grantee
COCA 2020– Finalist
International Photography Grant– Creative Prize Winner
Inge Morath Award by Magnum Foundation -Finalist
Prix Voies Off in Arles-Nominee
BMW Art and Culture Residency -Finalist
RBSA Photographic Prize– Nominee
2018: The Royal Photographic Society Postgraduate Bursary Award -Winner
Urbanautica Institute Awards-Finalist
International Photography Awards (Honourable Mention)
2017: International Photography Awards (Honourable Mention Winner)
PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris (Honourable Mention Winner)