“only when I’m drawing I feel at peace”

Josefa Tolra, spiritualist healer and artist (Cabrils, Barcelona 1880-1959)
Between 1941 and 1959 Josefa Tolra produced more than a hundred drawings, wrote numerous texts and embroidered a range of shawls. A patient and absorbing activity done at home while attending to the needs of her family and neighbours who visited requesting her help as a healer. A gentle lady, she took up drawing to help her to overcome the enormous sadness caused by the death of her two sons: “only when I’m drawing I feel at peace”. She never wanted to be an artist nor did she seek recognition, drawing was an antidote against the need to overcome the existential pain. Without studies or artistic influences, her work is spontaneous while at the same time very detailed, done through the exercise of graphic patience and extrasensory inspiration.
Josefa Tolra drew and wrote without aesthetic or literary pressure other than as a mediator between the material and spiritual world, and she titled her works as “fluid force drawings”. A spiritualist creativity which neither the museums nor the history of art can classify because it is outside the norms and it does not conform to any conventional oversight. Her drawings show us how to see things anew and to understand that her experience also contributes to the great encyclopedia of contemporary knowledge.

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