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)

Joya: AiR / Romina Belda / España

"Joya: AiR ha sido una experiencia increíble, inspiradora y nutritiva. El silencio invita a la meditación, observación y conexión con la naturaleza.

Todo rezuma a Andalucía, el cortijo está rodeado de olivos y pinos; de barrancos y arroyos. Cuando uno se adentra en la montaña se despliega todo un mundo de sensaciones de paz y serenidad. Las sendas y caminos enseñan sobre procesos, el momento presente, y guían hacia la rotura de pensamientos enclaustrados. Al tiempo en el que las sendas se abren, nuevos pensamientos afloran y el ahora deja de tener memoria.

El tiempo en la Cortijada de los Gázquez transcurre libre; no atiende a reloj, lógica ni lenguaje…

Mi estancia en la residencia ha simbolizado una restauración absoluta de mis sentidos. Me ha recordado que soy naturaleza. En un entorno calmado, que cambia a cada susurro del viento, he aprendido cómo articular mi trabajo, enfocar nuevos discursos, crear y reinventarme a mí misma.

Donna y Simon gozan de un estilo de vida saludable con un uso de recursos totalmente ecológico, del que he tomado consciencia cada día. Son personas de conversación, inteligentes, y con buen sentido del humor, cada noche cenamos juntos y compartimos diferentes experiencias de vida.

Me siento afortunada de haber tomado parte en esta experiencia, que espero volver a repetir. 

Moltes gràcies per tot! "


Romina Belda


Joya: AiR / Brecht Koelman / Belgium

" I remember the silence and the wind. And when the wind stopped I heard the humming of bees. Not the sound of bees swarming around you, but bees very far away. Lots of bees, way too many".


Brecht Koelman




Four Quartets - TS Eliot

La Pasanteur et la Grâce - Simon Weil

Vae Victis - Nescio

Les Dimanches de Jean Dézert - Jean de la Ville de Mirmont

Le Otto Montagne - Paolo Cognetti


Joya: AiR / Clara Dias / Portugal

"When applying to Joya: AiR I intended be close to nature, in isolation and completely away from chaotic London, where I have found myself feeling claustrophobic and making work that responded to ways of breathing in a squared format.

By spending a week away from the references and connotations that I am familiar with, I was able to immerse myself in the surrounding landscape and safely experiment, while being introspection, contemplation and self-reflection with one own artistic practice.

I walked around Joya: AiR site, sang to the mountains, collected found objects, taking analogue photographs and drawing its shapes. I have transferred my impressions and recollections of the landscape by hand sewing pieces of fabric with threads with the colours of the surroundings. 

The relocation of my practice to a natural environment opened up to new lines of questioning and the possibility of new elements into the work and wider perspective on the ways of production. 

This residency has facilitated the involvement, engagement and exchange not only with the hosts Simon and Donna, but also with fellow residents that challenged and added a new perspective into my practice and career. Consequently, this introduced new perspectives that empower the exploration of other possibilities and give me a better understanding of the diverse ways my work is perceived".


Clara Dias



• Florbela espanca – Antologia Poetica

• Fernando Pessoa – the book of disquiet

• Paulo Coelho – the alchemist

• Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos – My sweet orange tree

• Sophia de Mello Breyner – Shores, Horizons, Voyages – Selected poems

Joya: AiR / Helen Butler / UK

"Dissolving into presence, the immediate landscape holds me in its earth bowl. Ambling through the scent of rosemary, almond blossom and pine, a patch of ground calls. Lying on the earth, looking up at the sky. The clouds pulse in and out of being.


Surrender, let silence have you".


Helen Butler

Helen Butler - Sky on Earth series, oil paintings on paper.jpg
Joya: AiR / Tom Milnes / UK

"I normally introduce my practice as a lens for seeing from a technological perspective. The waves and cycles of trends, obsolescence and failures. So, it may seem peculiar that I want to be a resident at JOYA: AiR an off-grid, rural retreat. The JOYA: residency has come at a time in my research where I’m questioning the natural earthy materiality of media technology. The ore origins. The sites of excavation, of transmission and of processing vast amounts of data. Technology is not divorced from the material of the earth even though it may be extracted from it. Yet these natural ephemera are difficult for 3D capturing technologies to deal with. My practice and Ph.D. research marks a critical examination of reality capture (3D photogrammetry), asking how 3D content created from 2D images represents something other than 3D reality and can be problematic when dealing with non-visual phenomena and natural ephemera. Therefore, I have been ‘capturing’ parts of the landscape, weather and sites of excavation through photographs and drone footage. These ‘difficult’ subjects/objects create error, glitch and holes in the 3D mesh. JOYA has been a great site for exploration where you feel exposed to the power of nature; a power that still has control over its connection with technology.

Tom Milnes




Failure – Lisa Le Feuvre

ERROR: Glitch, Noise and Jam in New Media Cultures – Mark Nunes

The Internet Does Not Exist – e-fux journal

The Elephant in the Room – Jon Ronson

Joya: AiR / K.A. Bird / UK

"My art is a both response to and a product of the contemporary culture of image circulation.  Currently studying my MA in Fine Art I have been developing a process of mark-making using a browser-based CPPN and image editing software.  I then iterate the saved files in vinyl decal to create large wall installations, built up of sweeping computational strokes and gestures.  Creating the cut-outs I always consider the platform for the documentation, the work exists on the internet and in physical space but both are equal assertions of the art.  The work is relayed back and forth across on and offline spaces, becoming imbued with the residue of each new location which then informs and progresses the on-going project.

Staying at Joya allowed my project to explore new avenues of investigation - I wanted to integrate the drama of the landscape into my work, to create an installation that responded to the unique environment.  Being here has been invaluable to my practice and has provided me with time and space to focus on creating with a truly inspiration backdrop.  My days have been spent trekking up hillsides and down dry riverbeds in the hot sun, and the evenings have been spent sharing wine and fantastic conversation.  Whilst being here I have met amazing fellow artists from across the world, of which I have made some brilliant friendships.  I am so grateful to Simon and Donna for providing a platform for art and for welcoming me into their beautiful home.   It’s been an astonishing experience".


K.A. Bird



Simon BeckmannKA Bird
Joya: AiR / writer / Amanthi Harris / UK

"I have spent one week on a JOYA Residency. It has been a time of quiet exploratory work, with the stark beautiful landscape surrounding the house a calming stilling presence.  

My week here has been a time of reflection and a time to return to drawing and painting, leaving aside my work of the previous months as I drew inspiration from the landscape and the wonderful contrast of vibrant fabrics and objects from India within the house. I have produced a series of drawings of masks and self-portraits exploring masking which I plan to exhibit next month.

The day at JOYA is calm and unhurried; your time is entirely your own to work, walk, sleep, eat and feel incredibly cared for in an atmosphere that is supportive and studious. Donna and Simon are the nicest hosts, as are their children. Even the pets are adorable! Donna and Simon are also amazing cooks – communal dinners were a perfect end to each day, while artists’ talks in the evenings were interesting and inspiring and a great insight into fellow residents’ work.

I very much hope to return to JOYA one day"!

Amanthi Harris


Favourite Reading:

At The Bay – Katherine Mansfield

Running in the Family – Michael Ondaatje

and our faces, my heart, brief as photos -  John Berger

Break of Day – Colette

Storytelling and the Art of the Imagination – Nancy Mellon

Joya: AiR / Dana Finch / UK

"I sit and write this in the studio, with its picture window looking out onto a perfect landscape, a low white wall, a row of olive trees, and the terraces of almond trees sloping away up the hill, where they merge with the Aleppo pines on the mountainside.

This evening it has rained, a soft, nourishing rain, much needed, and the land has changed colour, from white to warm brown. I hear it is snowing in Cornwall. I am glad I am away in a desert land.

I walked this morning out into the campo, up past the empty farmhouse, on the white road. The sun was shining and it was warm – I wore a t shirt on the last day of February. The white path took my breath away, literally. I panted and puffed up the hill. Simon told me we are at the same elevation as Snowdon, so it makes sense. A good excuse to sit and rest, and draw the rose-coloured rocks and scrubby plants at the side of the track.

I am not a painter of big vistas, but up there in the pale, clean air I couldn’t help but be drawn to the far views of mountains in every direction. I came to a crossroads, and sat down. I like the places where roads meet – there is a topographical openness, and a sense of possibility. The wind was getting up and blew my hat off, a black oval scuttling across the bright earth while I looked on in dismay. Luckily it was trapped by a helpful thistle and I was able to retrieve it.

I keep looking and looking at the small plants, the tiny spiny structures that grip the dusty soil for dear life. They are so perfect, and so delicate yet incredibly robust. I love their muted colours - pinky brown, pale olive, silver grey. And they are spiky and thorny so I have to be careful where I sit down. Yesterday I got a hand full of thorns.

The walk is circular and from different points along it I can look down and see Cortijada Los Gázquez in the distance, which is a work of art in itself. Low and long and white, with orange-pink tiles and the lone windmill whirring away, it looks like it has grown from the ground. It is a remarkable place, full of warmth, friendship and creativity. I am a painter but came here with no fixed idea of what I would do, beyond make a small film on my iPhone. I thought this would be a film about plants and rocks, but it has become a film about the spirit of the place, and its embodiment in the mysterious dog, Ptolemy.  I have also been painting every day in the studio, writing, and thinking, and most of all, looking. I am here for only one week – not quite enough time, but up here in the hills time is irrelevant. What is important is to be open to all the sensations, impressions, the people, the visual beauty, and the small things – the desert plants, the rocks and the white soil".

5 Books

1 Journey to Ixtlan, Carlos Castaneda

2 Border Trilogy, Cormac McCarthy

3 The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver

4 As I walked out one midsummer morning, Laurie Lee

5 The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

Joya: AiR / Melanie Moczarski / New York /USA

"This was my second residency at Joya: AiR. A year earlier, I had come and found that this wonderful space presented for me a new way of working, a fluidity with new and available materials that provided spontaneous ideas and experimentation.

The unlimited access to the clay that forms the ground as far as the eye can see was the material I knew I wanted to work with during my residency.

The Beckmann's were incredibly generous, providing me with space in their terraced garden to create a sculptural space meant to be physically interacted with. Three, separate areas to sit or lay on came to life through trial and error, and gave me an opportunity to become more acquainted with the textures and weights of the land. 

It was a truly transformative learning experience to work in this way, and this was only a fraction of what I bring home with me after this residency. 

This is a place of great beauty on every level, and it’s the people I shared with that brought the experience to life. The dinners with Simon, Donna, and the other residents, time spent in the different spaces of their home exchanging ideas and evolving my own, and the space to connect with myself and others outside of the context of my day to day life and my sense of my practice were nothing short of precious.

This is a place I will return to for as long as the Beckmann's will have me".


Melanie Moczarski