Joya: AiR / Yordi Vieyte / Chile


"Primero que todo agradezco a Donna y Simon por permitirme ser parte de esta gran familia/comunidad llamada Joya.

Joya: AiR es mucho más que una residencia artística. Joya: AiR es un estilo de vida, un concepto, una metodología que se inserta en el territorio como una aguja de acupuntura que permite sanar tanto a nuestro entorno como nuestra alma.

La estratégica planificación territorial con la que cuenta esta residencia ecológica se relaciona esplendidamente con el paisaje, respetando y conservando el patrimonio tangible e intangible del Parque Natural Sierra Nevada y sus alrededores. Lo que aporta consciente o inconscientemente al fortalecimiento de la identidad española y su basta historia.

La residencia, los estudios y la arquitectura en general dialogan perfectamente con el genio del lugar (GENIUS LOCI) Siendo este un refugio pacifico de experiencias, reflexión, creación, e introspección que recomiendo sin duda alguna.

Muchísimas gracias Donna y Simón por hacernos sentir cómodos y plenos, por alimentarnos exquisitamente y por sobre todo ser un ejemplo de vida en este mundo. Cuenten con mi apoyo y mucha suerte en todo lo venidero".


"First of all, I thank Donna and Simon for allowing me to be part of this great family / community called Joya.

Joya: AiR is much more than an artistic residence. Joya: AiR is a lifestyle, a concept, a methodology that is inserted into the territory like an acupuncture needle that allows us to heal both our environment and our soul.

The strategic territorial planning of this ecological residence is splendidly related to the landscape, respecting and preserving the tangible and intangible heritage of the Sierra Nevada Natural Park and its surroundings. What contributes consciously or unconsciously to the strengthening of the Spanish identity and its vast history.

The residence, studios and architecture in general dialogue perfectly with the genius of the place (GENIUS LOCI) Being this, a peaceful refuge of experiences, reflection, creation, and introspection that I recommend without any doubt. 

Thank you very much Donna and Simon for making us feel comfortable and full, for feeding us exquisitely and above all being an example of life in this world. Count on my support and good luck in everything to come".


Yordi Vieyte

Joya: AiR / UAL Art for the Environment Award 2018

Internationally acclaimed artist, UAL (University of the Arts London) Chair of Art and the Environment Lucy Orta has launched an Art for the Environment Residency Programme, in partnership with residency programmes across Europe. Applicants get to choose between two and four week residencies at one of the hosting institutions, to explore concerns that define the twenty first century - biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy, human rights - and through their artistic practice, envision a world of tomorrow.

This is the third time that Joya: AiR has been invited to host the recipient of the award and we are very pleased to announce this years selected artist as Bronwyn Seier.

We will hear more from Bronwyn when she arrives in September.

Joya: AiR / Wesley Berg / USA

“There is a wonderful creative energy at JOYA: AiR.  My visit here has been the perfect combination of solitude and togetherness.  The days were very productive, working on drawings and a new direction for me.  The evenings were filled with fantastic dinners and lively, inspiring conversation with the other residents and Simon and Donna.  I will always remember my time here fondly.  I hope to return someday, as I know that JOYA: AiR has had an important impact on my life and work.”

“I recommend walking the Sendero Sierra Larga loop in the early morning.  The landscape here is breathtaking.”  

Wesley Berg

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Aki Hoshihara / Japan

"Joya: AiR brought me a great sense of appreciation to express artistic message in a pure and centred way. Being in the nature of Los Gázquez made me think of how artists can connect with our own inner wisdoms to bring the best for the next generations. It was a great connecting point with artists from different disciplines to share ideas and inspire each other in order to expand our views through art. Many thanks to Simon and Donna for letting us explore our potentials and providing us such an amazing experience"! 

Aki Hoshihara

Aki Hoshihara is a Japan born, Los Angeles based artist with a background in traditional Japanese calligraphy. Her work is best known for the fusion of black sumi-ink and bright chromatic palette of watercolours and other mixed media. The fluid and sensual brushstrokes – inspired by the beauty and the energy flow of humans and nature - take us to a moment of contemplation and harmony.



Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Alissa Polen / USA

What I did

"I replenished. I collected images from the amazing landscape, discovered a lot about my practice and started several new pieces. I found a new sense of peace hiking solo through the stunning stark landscape and was finally able to disconnect from the swirling news and endless streams of data. I also got to know international artists and look forward to visiting my new-found friends. 

Simon and Donna are truly warm top-notch hosts, patient and accommodating". 

Alissa Polen



Alissa D. Polan is an artist, curator and project manager interested in the increasing tensions between humans and the natural world and the relationship between the history and contemporary uses of photography. Her works on paper and installations have been exhibited nationally, including LMAK gallery, (New York, NY), Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA), Heather Marx Art Advisory (San Francisco, CA), Klowden Mann (Culver City, CA), Sonoma Valley Museum of Art (Sonoma, CA), and Jonathan Ferrara Gallery (New Orleans, LA). She has curated and coordinated projects and exhibitions for both galleries and art fairs. She received her MFA in Sculpture from SFAI (San Francisco, CA). Alissa currently lives and works in New York.

Joya: AiR / Natalie Pullen / Ireland
"An ant tried to eat my breast"... 

"... the Italian explained reasonably, after her sudden jerk had broken the tranquility between the seven artists watching the sun go down. Our installation/sculpture artist from Holland tells us that there is a specific word in Dutch to describe this easy intimacy and cosiness between us, but no direct English translation. 

I value these moments, our conversation slipping and winding between our careers and experiences in our separate countries, the walking or writing or drawing or photographing or gathering or clay mixing we had done that day, and laughter and banter.

I left the weight of my practice at home, the heavy, bleeding oils and stiff linen, and instead brought wet watercolours to the dry landscape without expectation. I walked and scrambled up hills and read and wrote, made my intuitive, abstracted watercolours in my quiet studio listening and responding to all that was around me. Then I brought them back out into the landscape, into the rugged natural gallery that is the barranco. 


joya 4.jpg

These three weeks have allowed me to get to know my art-making self, free from the binds of my practice and process, and the systems and structures within which I make and exhibit work. The results have been unexpected and satisfying. The thrust of my productivity is padded with warm memories of delicious food and wine, the heat of the sun and expanse of the landscape, the easy companionship between the other artists and our wonderful hosts, and many, many laughs". 

Natalie Pullen


Your Silence Will Not Protect You - Audre Lorde

Book of Mutter - Kate Zambreno

Bluets - Maggie Nelson

I Love Dick - Chris Kraus 

Natalie Pullen is a Dublin-based visual artist, since graduating from the National College of Art and Design in 2017 with a BA in Paint and Visual Culture she has maintained an active studio practice, working towards exhibitions, open studios and workshops. Her paintings embody echoes of the unseen forces, resonances and vibrations which pass, subconsciously, between encountering bodies. Conceptually, this in-betweenness means between the seen and the unseen, this and other worlds. Materially and technically it means investigating spaces in-between drawing and painting, abstraction and figuration. The paintings are thought of as an after-image, the viewer encounters a residual map of the artists movements and decisions in making them. Informed by feminism and affect theory, and resonating with elements of the Occult, her work further challenges the binaries between theory and practice.  

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Chloe Belcher / England

"The residency here at Joya: AiR has allowed me some precious reflection time, a chance to explore a new landscape and meet other artists from around the world. I needed to spend some time researching further opportunities for personal progression, applying for more residencies and exhibitions, and looking into ways of gaining funding for my artistic practice.

I have been able to gain valuable feedback from others when I presented my work, allowing me to channel into some ideas that I may not of thought had much value before. I have developed these ideas while here and planned how to transfer the ideas into my studio space at home.

This experience has been my first residency since graduating last year, and it has been a really useful platform to learn how they work. The residency at Joya: AiR is very self-led which has been beneficial to me, having a  studio space, to share ideas and talk to others, is what I found most important in my studies and I have really enjoyed being able to do that again here".

Chloe Belcher


Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Sam Williams / UK

"My time at JOYA: AiR was spent exploring, filming, writing and performing in the immense landscape that surrounds the beautiful house. I made a new work here, although writing this on the last night of the residency I cannot say what the work is – I have spent the entire time generating material and am yet to start editing, such is the reluctance to spend time in front of the screen. It is a fantastic environment for working and thinking, the seclusion offered by the national park is invaluable. Simon and Donna are excellent residency hosts, encouraging dialogue between residents but allowing everybody the time and space to develop their practices in the best way they see fit. Oh, and it is impossible to not mention Donna’s amazing cooking – I eagerly await a JOYA Recipe Book"!

Sam Williams


“The hot sun as my witness: blind sun, blond bones, bleeding hills – put thistles and mud on the wounds, roll in the dust like a coydog, scream into those anthills, run fast without looking, close those eyes, shut those curtains, high sun, high strung, big snakes in the road, big desert, big sky, clouds zoom by…”


David Wojnarowicz

Sam Williams is an artist filmmaker based in London, where he studied MA Sculpture / Moving Image at the Royal College of Art. He has shown work nationally at institutions such as Tate Britain, V&A, Sadler’s Wells, Outpost and Baltic39 and screened internationally in countries including Egypt, Russia, Germany and Norway. As part of the audio-visual group Emptyset he has performed across Europe and has shown collaborative works with Rosemary Butcher MBE at The Place, Nottingham Contemporary and Akademie der Künste (Berlin). He was awarded the Relax Digital Commission (2016) and the Stuart Croft Foundation Award (2017) and has been artist in residence at Baltic39 (Newcastle), Cité international des arts (Paris), JOYA AiR (Andalusia) and ArtHouse Jersey. This year he received an A-N Professional Development Bursary to initiate choreographic workshops for non-dance artists, writers and curators. Sam is a founding trustee of the Rosemary Butcher Foundation where he will help oversee the preservation and promotion of her archive and legacy.

Joya: AiR / Marjolein Witte / Holland

"This week has made me aware of how much we have grown in our daily lives with modern technology, internet and social media. How we have become accustomed to a multitude of stimuli and choices and how our concentration span is getting shorter and shorter. Without all these influences you will be forced to adapt to your environment, to adopt a different pace, to look and really see, to listen and really hear and to feel and really experience. This week at Joya: AiR gave me the opportunity to slow down, to distance myself from my work and to reflect on that while experimenting with the input of a natural environment and getting new insights.

Simon and Donna, thank you for this opportunity, this lovely quiet place in the centre of the Sierra María Los Vélez, the fantastic food and your hospitality. I will definitely return. Thanks also to all the other artists I met this week, with whom I had great conversations and above all a lot of fun".


Marjolein Witte

Joya: AiR / Georgia Hill / Australia

On being a Joya:

"Around the same time each year I find I want to run away from works I've been heavily focused on and make sure my mind and work is moving in the right direction. Lately, my process seems to involve keeping ahead of a self-inflicted workload that feels more like an avalanche than art practice...

 Georgia Hill / wall painting at Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR

Georgia Hill / wall painting at Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR


I keep being asked how my time at Joya: AiR was, and all I can happily answer is “necessary”. To be given permission to be isolated is my idea of heaven, and to find that in a Spanish desert with a pretty vocal goat is something I’ll never forget. 

 Georgia Hill / wall painting (detail) / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR

Georgia Hill / wall painting (detail) / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR


My practice has become something that means I travel a lot, paint bigger and bigger things, and push against some invisible notion that this might be good now, but what’s next. To have two weeks of doing exactly the opposite - being still, working small, and making what feels right today, is a feeling I want to keep in my work and build on again and again. 

 Georgia Hill / wall painting (detail) / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR

Georgia Hill / wall painting (detail) / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR

 Georgia Hill / wall painting (detail) / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR

Georgia Hill / wall painting (detail) / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR


In my time at Joya: AiR, I crafted many sketches and notes, ultimately focusing on two murals followed by a short photographic series ‘Push Pull’. These works were each a close reflection of my time here - rocks, wood, cracks, lines created by buildings, words stuck in my head like lyrics. These pieces felt finally challenging in the way I didn’t know I wanted - not for scale or detail, but for being honest and looking in more than ahead".

 Georgia Hill / wall painting / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR

Georgia Hill / wall painting / Cortijada Los Gázquez / Joya: AiR


Georgia Hill is an Australian artist, specialising in contemporary, often site-specific based artworks.

Using a range of mediums, her instantly recognisable monochromatic aesthetic can be read in terms of connections, relationships, time, place and self. Over the past five years, Hill’s works have developed from exhibition works to large-scale installations that resonate with their structure or natural surroundings, continuously exploring the connection between spaces, environment and our personal experience. 

Hill's works have spanned small inner-city walls to 400ft abandoned buildings across Canada, New Zealand, Iceland, The United States, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia’s states. 

 Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill

 Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill

Instagram      @georgiahillbth

Twitter           @georgiahillbth


Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Laura Snyder / USA

"In the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada, 

In the dream state, my mind makes new connections. 

The desert is in bloom. Gold light alternates with dark rain clouds and the white clay earth jumps up to meet me. Rosemary, poppies, milk thistle, thyme, agave, pine, olive, almond, sawgrass, rocks, quartz, bees! 

I find time and space to remember, to imagine, and to lie on the earth.

I go out, walking.

I go in, drawing.

I observe with great attention and watch as worlds open up under my feet". 




Thank you Simon and Donna for sharing the world you have created and cultivated. 

Laura Snyder



Walkscapes: Walking as an Esthetic Practice by Francesco Careri

The Blue of Distance by Rebecca Solnit

The Wild Iris by Louise Glück

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Lliure Briz / España

"Tras la ceguera visual contemporánea tan propia de nuestro día a día, experimentar un retiro como JOYA: AiR es una autentica “joya” para el alma.

La inmersión en un entorno tan idílico te hace imaginar nuevas sinergias y proyectar otros futuros posibles.

El espacio-tiempo parece ralentizarse dotando de un sentido profundo a todo lo que ves, el paisaje como elemento de comunión. La contemplación como acto de resistencia estético.

Estos días aquí he sentido la libertad y el poder de la abstracción, creando una naturaleza híbrida ficción/realidad. 

He desarrollado un estudio pictórico en el estudio y también he interactuado con el entorno natural a través de intervenciones en el paisaje.

Trabajo con tecnologías digitales más propias de la arqueología que de la práctica artística, desarrollando así mi lenguaje. 

Me interesa registrar experiencia in-situ en el terreno y su encarnacion digital ex-situ, de esta manera la obra está en constante mutación dentro de un nuevo estrato geológico virtual".

Lliure Briz

Joya: AiR / Santiago Martínez Peral / Spain

"A menudo las características de la realidad social en la que vivimos, nuestro presente y nuestro futuro, se nos presentan como algo inevitable, un estado no modificable inherente a la condición humana que hay que asumir y perpetuar como única posibilidad de estar y de relacionarnos en/con el mundo.

Se da por hecho la desertización total de los entornos rurales en  unos pocos  años, con la irreparable pérdida de patrimonio natural y cultural que eso conlleva y la concentración masiva de la población mundial en megalópolis.

Va calando a su vez la idea de que el Arte es un lujo accesible solo a unos pocos privilegiados inmersos en un monólogo  incomprensible, autorreferencial y narcisista sin capacidad  alguna para transformar la realidad, regido exclusivamente por las leyes del mercado y la competitividad.

Lo que el extraordinario proyecto de JOYA: AiR consigue es desmentir todo lo anterior recuperando un entorno rural abandonado , uniendo la tradición de la agricultura vernácula con las energías renovables y con un mínimo impacto medioambiental.

 A su vez  el programa de  residencias hace posible el encuentro fructífero  y cordial entre artistas multidisciplinares y recupera el arte y la creatividad como herramienta fundamental  para el cambio de mirada  y de paradigma necesarios  para afrontar los retos que se nos presentan como sociedad.

Belleza, silencio, arte , humor y amistad ….posibilidades hechas realidad en JOYA".

Joya: writer in residence / Francine Oomen / Holland

"We are not one self, we are many. The artist, the food lover, the adventurer, to name a few, they all live inside me. But there is also the house sparrow, a self who wants to stay comfortably in her own beloved nest. This one makes it always hard for me to leave the place where I live.

To my surprise and joy, all my selves felt immediately at home at Joya: AiR. 

During the whole two weeks my inner slavedriver, who is often very present, didn't harass me once. On the contrary: she held long siestas amidst the poppies, drank coppas de vino whilst staring contently at the amazing sunsets and had long conversations with Fufu the goat. Every now and then she glimpsed through the panorama window of the studio, on which she nodded approvingly at the sight of me, smiling happily and dipping my brush into the goldpaint. 

Gold was the colour I used most, during my time at Joya, I think because I felt golden under this great blue dome. All my selves being nurtured, nourished and inspired by the wonderful landscape, the deep silence, the songbirds, the smell of the pine trees, the wildflowers, my fellow residents and of course by Donna and Simon. Joya is a work of art in itself". 

Francine Oomen


C.G. Jung: Memories, dreams, reflections
Edith Eger: The choice

Joya: AiR / Rebecca Tucker / UK

"Seven days is not enough.

I climbed the rocky mountain peaks until the skin on my hands and shins became raw. Indulged in delicious food: my belly in bliss.

Beautiful conversations. Perfect hosts.

Three griffon vultures overhead…juicy bugs chased by a lizard (my favourite peak).

Building  with fresh clay for hours in the sun with the humming soundtrack of bees".

Rebecca Tucker

Joya: AiR / Danielle Rosen / USA


Egyptian vultures rest heavy on my skin. My body feels like an artefact.  So I give myself a hydrating facial and think about shadow work— about how to hunt without tasting death. I wonder how to be a scavenger when living in a rib cage of dust. I wonder if I am a pillager when the airport security guards examine my deities. As they unwrap each red silk swaddle, I imagine the methodical destruction of every carved figure. But I comfort myself with images of 400 million-year-old trilobites, flecks of mica on painted stone, a patchwork of muscles and hooves.  Then I wash the pink serum off my face and begin building an altar in my temporary home, grateful to have a few large weights to turn over again and again until they feel polished.  Until I feel polished. 


Danielle Rosen



Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway

Zoo, or, Letters Not About Love by Viktor Shklovsky

Blackness, Animality, and the Unsovereign by Che Gossett

The Enchantment of Modern Life: Attachments, Crossings, and Ethics by Jane Bennett 

The Tears of Eros by Georges Bataille

Monstrosity, Performance, and Race in Contemporary Culture by Bernadette Marie Calafell

The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir 

Joya: AiR / Noah Kashiani / USA

"My work conveys energy and disruption to create an contrasting and alarming style. 

Joya: AiR has allowed me to examine myself and my work like I have never before. The isolation provided by nature has allowed me to block out distractions and make new discoveries. This experience allowed me to truly discover what myself and my work is about".


Noah Kashiani

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Susan Mockler / Canada

“In the mountains, there you feel free.”


T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland


"In my time at Joya: AiR, these lines were often with me. In the peace of gazing over the mountain range as I sipped coffee in the mornings and in the solitude and space
I had to contemplate and write. Complemented by the inspiration and camaraderie of other artists and writers from varied countries and backgrounds, Joya: AiR created a perfectly balanced physical, social, and internal landscape which fostered my own creative process. 

The spirited discussions and laughter over delicious meals, the sharing of work, and the power of Simon and Donna’s vision remain with me still.

As of course do the swales"!


Susan Mockler

Susan Mockler is a clinical psychologist and writer living in Toronto, Ontario.

Reading list:

Pachinko, Min Jun Lee
The Ghost Orchard, Helen Humphreys
Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara

Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast, Megan Marshall

Henry David Thoreau: A Life, Laura Dassow Walls

Joya: AiR / Oliver Le Gresley / UK (Jersey)

"I walked along white clay tracks, up Aleppo pine covered limestone mountains, through fluvial systems littered with fossils. I crushed thyme between my fingers, passed almond trees; last of the blossom falling, I observed insect life, spotted a hare, lizards, an Ibex, game birds gave flight and others their song, and then, in silence, I departed imbued.

I was able to observe and consider the landscape, its flora and fauna, and begin new work that seeks to address, in part, how and what we take from the land and how the landscape informs what we make to meet our physical needs". 


Oliver Le Gresley


Book list

The Emigrants - W.G. Sebald

Arabian Sands - Wilfred Thesiger

Mr Paloma - Italo Calvino

The Glass Bead Game - Hermann Hesse 

Ecclesiastes - Solomon, son of David

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Kathryn Hunt / USA
I long ago learned that what I need for my art is time and enclosure, by which I mean slowly unfolding days surrounded by the invisible fences of solitude.

Lewis Hyde

The Gift


"I’ll remember the land. 

The land, the pines, the fat black beetles. 

The delicious food, yes; the light-filled rooms, the conversations, the generosity of Joya’s hosts, certainly. The round vowels of Spanish that filled my ears, always. 

But it is the land itself that has seeped into my blood. The stones of Spain. The dust, the limestone soil. The two-track roads I walked in the afternoons, the smell of the almond blossoms. A deep sweet silence filled with the calls of birds and insects going about their lives, the alert movement of ibex and boar across Los Gázquez while we slept. The rock art the ancient ones left us. All of this has entered me and entered my work, like moonlight in a basin of water.

Somehow time opened up at Joya – and the language of poetry began to take on new rhythms and purposes, rooted in spaciousness that is very old and just being born".

Kathryn Hunt

Book List 

Kathryn Hunt


Svetlana Alexievich: Chernobyl Prayer (nonfiction)

James Baldwin: Notes of a Native Son (nonfiction)

Kim Barnes: In the Wilderness and Hungry for the World (nonfiction, memoir)

Ray Carver: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (fiction, short stories)

Harriet Doerr: The Stones of Ibarra (fiction)

Mathias Enard: The Street of Thieves (fiction)

Louise Erdrich: Love Medicine and The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (fiction)

Tess Gallagher: Moon Crossing Bridge (poetry)

Hans Fallada: Every Man Dies Alone (fiction)

Linda Hogan: Dark. Sweet. (poetry)

Camara Laye: The Radiance of the King (fiction)

Nadezhda Mandelstam: Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned (nonfiction, memoir)

Layli Long Soldier: Whereas (poetry)

Barry Lopez: Arctic Dreams (nonfiction) and Desert Notes/River Notes (fiction)

N. Scott Momaday: House Made of Dawn (fiction)

Vladimir Nabokov:  Speak, Memory (nonfiction, memoir)

Maggie Nelson: Argonauts (nonfiction, memoir)

Mercè Rodoreda:  The Time of Doves; War, So Much War; and Death in Spring (fiction)

John Vaillant: The Tiger and The Golden Spruce (nonfiction)

Isabel Wilkerson: The Warmth of Other Suns (nonfiction, history)