Joya: AiR / Aisling Conroy / IRE
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“I had the honour of spending time with such gorgeous energy and spirit via fellow creatives at Joya: AiR, who were all bestowing big beautiful brains bursting with talent and personality. One of the privileges of being an artist is to go on residency and be introduced to other thought provoking practices (animation, architecture, body art, illustration, installation, flamenco, food, filmmaking, geography and landscape, music, painting, performance, sculpture, writing) as well as learning from different nationalities and cultures, all under the same roof.  None of this learning and exchange would have happened without Donna and Simon championing the importance of all the artists sitting down to the one  ritual evening meal (exquisitely prepared banquet!) every night, and they were right.

The remarkable and cinematic scenery that engulfed us in the Andalucían /Almerían mountain ranges- was such a rich experience, I could never have dreamed it. So much peace up there in the remote Los Gázquez (home of Joya: AiR), intensified by minimal wifi and phone signal.  This was a gift for ones art practice,  and it allowed a consistency and flow with both reading and writing that I don’t normally have the joy of experiencing in my normally very urban existence. This kind of peace lent itself to poetry.

From someone who meditates, the peace and tranquility there was deafening and took me a couple of days to redefine my own understanding of what stillness is.  This new found state granted me the focus and aural fidelity to edit recordings of my late grandmother which I had not listened to since their inception in 2009/2010. These recordings are a snapshot of rural Ireland in 1930s- 1960s, documenting traditions, rituals and social etiquette of times long gone. The recordings have become the backbone of a short animated film that is currently in development, and a film I proposed to progress while at Joya: AiR.

During my last few days at Joya, an “electrical surge” of insomnia hit me (it happens about twice a year)  nervous and excited with ideas I was waking up 3.44am. Unable to sleep, I began to write and draw. The stillness in the air was even more astounding at that time of the night, mystical even. These episodes of insomnia resulted in a feverish blast of work in the studio with a series of collages that will later be translated into large scale painting.  This work wasn’t planned or intended when coming to Joya: AIR. However, this is the beauty of having that time undisturbed and untainted by modernity (i.e. phone signal/wifi/ consumerism).  Similar to the Buddha’s lotus that rises from muddy waters; in Andalucía, the minds sediment settled to the bottom, and like gold panning, new ideas naturally and freely distilled and rose to the top, waiting to be plucked out with ease, experimented with, and transcribed into new ventures.

Thank you to all the artists and creators at Joya: AiR and heartfelt gratitude to Donna and Simon, Sesame and Solomon for being so welcoming and utterly inspiring in every way”.


Aisling Conroy


Aisling Conroy is a multidisciplinary artist using drawing, painting, print, sound, installation, theatre, and animation. Her practice explores the idea of intention, repetition and reincarnation. Responding to psychology and vulnerability in the human condition, she draws on influences from sacred art, nature, literature, and the socio political landscape and there is an ongoing emphasis on the process which involves improvisation, chance, play;  with colour, form and composition.

 Aisling graduated from The National College of Art and Design with a BA Hons degree in Fine Art Print, 2009; and a Master of Fine Art postgraduate degree, 2011. Aisling has worked for the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL) and for the Edward Murphy Library of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD), on numerous archival, digitisation, research and educational projects (2012-2017). She now works in the animation, audio-visual sector for Animation Ireland. Aisling is also an Associate Gallery Artist with the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin.

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Jaron Rowan / ESP
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


‘La Ilustración, en su empeño por liberar a los Europeos de los poderes feudales y de la hegemonía de la iglesia, impuso la racionalidad como principio para hacer inteligible el mundo. Toda la realidad fenoménica es decir, las plantas, los animales, los minerales, los cambios atmosféricos, los objetos culturales, etc. podían y debían ser nombrados, catalogados, ordenados, diseccionados para así, ser comprendidos. Todo se podía conocer. Nada debía escapar a la fuerza de la razón, a su capacidad de análisis. El humanismo es aquella tradición de pensamiento que considera que gracias a esta capacidad de conocer la realidad, los humanos están por encima de los demás seres del mundo. Que los derechos de los humanos han de perseverar sobre los derechos de todo ser o ente no-humano. Que gracias a tres principios operativos: la objetividad, la crítica o el afecto, los humanos pueden entender y controlar el mundo en el que viven. Que el planeta es un escenario para que los humanos prosperen y que los seres que lo pueblan están al servicio de las necesidades y privilegios humanos. Así, la razón y el humanismo se impusieron violentamente sobre los cuerpos y las vidas de quienes tenían formas de entender y vivir diferentes. Quienes “aún vivían sometidos bajo el poder de las cosas”. Quienes aún dependían de otros humanos, de las plantas, de los animales, de los objetos para construir su bienestar.  

Gran parte de las perspectivas de análisis cultural de las que disponemos en la actualidad han heredado esta tradición de pensamiento. Se siguen basando en las idea de que los objetos culturales se pueden hacer inteligibles gracias a una combinación del análisis objetivo, la crítica o entendiendo su capacidad de afectarnos. Que los humanos somos seres autónomos del entorno en el que vivimos. Que la escisión sujeto-objeto, natura-cultura, humano-no-humano, son vectores que sirven para dar cuenta de la realidad de la que somos parte. Que gracias a la razón nos podemos situar en una relación de verticalidad para con los objetos y seres que nos rodean. Que gracias a nuestra capacidad de conocer, nos podemos liberar de la fuerza, de la magia, del influjo de los objetos culturales que se empeñan en convivir y marcar nuestras vidas. Durante mi estancia en el entorno privilegiado de Joya: AiR, he estado investigando y escribiendo en torno a cómo se podría entender el análisis cultural como una herramienta de reparación. Como una estrategia para identificar, cuidar los vínculos y evidenciar las interdependencias que nos engarzan en tramas de objetos y sujetos. Como mecanismo para empezar a aceptar las maneras en las que actúan, nos determinan y definen los objetos culturales. El análisis cultural como herramienta para aceptar que las cosas brillan y nos iluminan, que tienen poder sobre nosotros, que en ocasiones nos pueden conquistar. Durante la residencia he trabajado en formas de habitar la indeterminación, las ambivalencias y la complejidad que presentan los objetos culturales con los que hemos crecido y convivido. He buscado formas de entender el análisis cultural como forma de reparar, de acercar y evidenciar las interdependencias radicales que articulan nuestra realidad’.

Jaron Rowan

Investigador cultural, escritor y profesor.

Jaron Rowan es coordinador de la Unidad de Investigación y Doctorado de BAU, Centro de Diseño Universitario, en Barcelona. Ha escrito el libro Emprendedores en cultura (Dream Traffickers, 2010), "Memes: Idiot Intelligence, Rare Politics and Digital Folklore" (Capitan Swing, 2015) y "State Free Culture" (Dream Traffickers, 2016). También ha colaborado y coescrito libros como "Innovación en la cultura" (Traffickers of Dreams, 2009), "Cultura digital libre" (Icaria, 2012) y "La tragedia del derecho de autor" (Virus, 2013), así como colaborando con medios y revistas.

Simon BeckmannBAU, Jaron Rowan
Joya: AiR / Zoe Tissandier / GBR
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


'Welcome Pilgrims!' was the message I received in the booklet in my hotel room in Granada. Yes, I thought, I am on a journey to a place of particular significance. Having already undertaken the residency in 2017, I was aware of this special place and felt compelled to return to Joya: AiR for a second visit. Though this time I didn't come with a specific project in mind, rather I bought a camera, sound recording equipment, notebook and some other tools and wanted to see what would emerge. 

Collecting and constellations were the themes which occupied me this visit. I recorded my residency experience through images, sounds, and written words. I re-walked the paths of my previous visit whilst ruminating on time passing but also discovered new spaces to explore and thus fresh ideas to reflect on.  

Late night dinners and conversations under the stars allowed me to look upward and attempt to locate the astronomical shapes above me. This led to making my own miniature sculptural constellations with pins and cotton thread, letting the marks on pieces of wood dictate the path of the pattern. 

However, the term constellation came to mean something other than just the celestial. For me, it was about revealing connections between ideas, and allowing the thoughts and collected documents to form something meaningful, if only at this stage as a map in my mind. 

And of course, constellation also referred to the network created between the other resident artists and visitors. The sharing of ideas, knowledge and working processes with this particular set of creative souls influenced my thoughts and overall thoroughly engaging residency experience.  

I think that the Joya: AiR residency has an incredible ability to allow the interior self to flourish whilst existing in the most beautiful exterior space’. 

Zoe Tissandier .

Zoe Tissandier’s current practice employs various methods and materials in working through ideas of the archive, collecting, memory, and history, including video, letterpress, projection, sound and installation. She utilises found objects, text and stories, as a way to generate new meanings and assemblages. Spending time accessing material and taking inspiration from various archives, collections and museums, she is interested in the distinction between public and personal archives, the former taking up order and efficiency as its main principles of structuring, the latter embracing unofficial, subjective material to recall different histories and ideas.

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / University of the Arts London - Art for the Environment Award / Gwen Van Den Bout
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“Joya: AiR is an arts residency for artists and writers. Joya: AiR describes itself as not only a unique, stimulating and contemplative environment for international artists and writers, but as a meeting point for divergent and creative thinking. The residency offers an ‘off-grid’ experience in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez in the north of the Provincia de Almería, Andalucía.

My residency at Joya: AiR was generously supported by The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme, an award 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. I had proposed to make a new series of artworks sitting within the body of work called Future Geology. A self-initiated material futures project which I propose to conduct further research and material experimentation for during the focused period of the residency.

The gems on the image are a poetic translation of these topics (2014-15)

The gems on the image are a poetic translation of these topics (2014-15)


Future Geology

Future Geology focusses on the simulation of human effects on the earth’s crust. In the era of Anthropocene, human activities have a global impact on the Earth. The project addresses the effects of humankind depleting natural resources and polluting our soil. In reading rocks, we read the story of our restless planet. We come to understand its complex patterns of interaction and the nature of change over deep geological time.

Therefore, I created ‘future stones’ over the past nine years; made of artificial materials such as metal, chemical resin, plastic, aluminium, concrete, textile, plaster, glass fiber and glass. In this project I am looking for new compositions that question how our soil can be used for aesthetic purposes, exploring the design opportunities presented by recycled materials. Over the last years I have been refining the sculptures and adding onto it. This artist in residency helps to crystallise my creative practice further and the image below shows one of the first sculptures of this ongoing project made in 2010.

First sculpture made of Future Geology (2010)

First sculpture made of Future Geology (2010)


The JOYA: AiR experience

Grateful for the opportunity to travel to Joya: AiR I tried to approach the residency as a blank canvas in order to arrive with an open approach and allow myself to soak the environment up as much as possible. However, in preparation of the residency together with the research I conducted I did get an image on how Joya: AiR might be. A beautifully renovated artist in residency located in the “parque natural sierra de maria los velez” surrounded by an incredibly mountain landscape. On my arrival that was confirmed directly. At 8.30PM I got picked up at the bus stop Velez Rubio (the closest you can get with public transport). Simon friendly welcomed me and took me with his Land Rover over the rural country roads to the natural park. It is a 20 minute drive and that made that we approached the house steady but slowly while the sunset took place. A magical start of this amazing experience.

view from Joya: AiR

view from Joya: AiR


On arrival my expectations were more than true. The curators of Joya: AiR, Donna and Simon, greeted me with open arms and it was a warm (literally and figuratively) place to stay for two weeks. One of the most special experiences at Joya: AiR was the silence. Especially when being used to living in London, which is never silent or quiet, that was something that stood out from my very first day. It is an incredible valuable gift to experience silence, peace of mind and tranquility. The benefits of that has seeped through to my art. Granting yourself the headspace to sit and contemplate is priceless. I was distracted the very first days, because I am pretty addicted to being constantly productive. For me this felt very unusual and a bit uncomfortable to get used to as well. In English there isn’t a specific word for it, but in Dutch we call it “niksen”. These very first days of “doing nothing” gave me new insights and ideas and I started to love it. I would usually go on a morning walk before it got 36 degrees outside. I would walk through the valley, climb a mountain or sit under a tree to observe and generate ideas. After a couple of days I started making and realising ideas that weren’t part of the plan.

landscape around Joya: AiR

landscape around Joya: AiR

Apart from the contemplative aspect of the residency, the social contact and community aspect was an important part of the experience as well. We would present our work to each other, share perspectives on particular subject and generate ideas on how to make a living as an artist. During the day the artist would work individually and approximately every second evening one of the residents would present their work followed by a tasty dinner party where everyone would share thoughts and ideas. Sharing stories, experience and food was absolutely an added value and contributed to the many fruitful conversations I had.

supper time at Joya: AiR

supper time at Joya: AiR

sunset at Joya: AiR

sunset at Joya: AiR


As a multi-disciplinary artist my work always involves creative research, narratives, installation art and material innovation. During residency I developed and discovered the potential of these Future Geology materials further. For this edition of Future Geology I focussed solely on plastic and created rock formations made from household waste or plastic found in nature. These artificial rocks I photographed in nature to start a dialogue with the viewer on when nature starts or ends. And when a landscape finishes or ends. The findings of the work I made in the first week were translated in the series of sculptures I created in the second week.

Photographs out of photographic serie made at JOYA, Future Geology (2019)

Photographs out of photographic serie made at JOYA, Future Geology (2019)

During the artistic research about plastics and landscapes I found out that the region Almería in Spain contains a plastic sea. This involves 30 miles of white plastic greenhouses. Once a year the plastic needs to be replaced and the plastic sheets are dumped on the land. This resulted in land covered with plastics which are meters high. Even though, I didn’t have the possibility to visit this region myself, it does resonate with my project and the research influenced the formation of the project Future Geology.

Plastic Sea from an aerial perspective, Almeria, Spain

Plastic Sea from an aerial perspective, Almeria, Spain

In many aspects my time at Joya: AiR was valuable. Personally as well as professionally. Beauty, silence, environment and headspace was enriching and nourishing. Granting yourself the time to re-work and revise is priceless. The off-grid experience in rural Spain made me also critically look at my own living environment on an off-grid narrowboat in London and ultimately the amazing insights and conversations with the fellow residents is absolutely something to cherish.

Impact and future plans

At Joya: AiR I got the opportunity to expand and create a new body of work. Besides that it also gave me the unique opportunity to think about my future plans. What is next and which ambitions do I want to realise and prioritise. My time in rural Spain was an inspiring and great input to crystallise my future plans. As an environmentalist this influenced not only my perspective on my work, but also on my personal life. The residency is off-grid and carbon neutral. It was very interesting to hear the presentation by Simon about their story and in particular the water life cycle. It is a tricky thing especially in such a dry area. Also the electricity is generated in a sustainable way with photo voltaic and wind energy. That made it an inspirational source in itself as an artist working with the environment. On top of that, the experience also made me look at my own living environment. In London, off-grid and on a narrow boat. Totally self-sufficient as well but in a completely different manner. Some parts of this do overlap, but others differ. This made me look at my current living critically. Thoughts about how improvement could be made for me personally but also for the waters of the canal river trust. This might result in a future project. In the next 6-10 months I would love to find a suitable place in London to exhibit the collection of Future Geology artworks. Besides that I am looking into future opportunities on living on a narrow boat floating over the London canals. I do have the ambition to create, form and make my own boat from scratch and make it a platform for the future. Not only fuelling my own ambition, but also serving tourists, visitors and Londoners”.

Gwen van den Bout


Gwen is a London and Rotterdam based conceptual artist, graduate of a masters in Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. In her work she translates stories into interactive and sensorial spaces where the audience can explore her work intuitively and create their own meaning. Gwen makes art installations, curates exhibitions and creates sensorial brand experiences. Gwen previously studied at two universities in the Netherlands where she completed a BA at Breda University of Applied Science and a BA at Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam. She gained industry experience at several museums and cultural festivals, as well as with luxury retail companies, including working as a Visual Merchandiser for de Bijenkorf, the largest department store in the Netherlands. Gwen also won an open call from the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam to exhibit her contemporary installation artwork at the museum. Looking to the future, Gwen is focused on working in multi-disciplinary environments where she can communicate stories – ranging from exhibitions in museums, intuitive installations and outstanding window design. She is passionate about participative culture and bridging the gap between the commercial and cultural worlds.

Joya: AiR / Thom Driver / GBR
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“Arriving at Joya: AiR you enter another world, one where layers of distraction are replaced by a feeling of alert presence, your creative energies are unobstructed, schedules and money are suspended, and you re-experience aspects of nature that for a city dweller are too often forgotten. Joya: AiR is also a thrilling demonstration that alternative, less destructive ways of living are possible.

Despite the arid climate, there is everywhere a multitude of life. You become very attuned to this, and also to a sense of heightened imagination. An almond tree resembles a musical score. There are characters in the rocks. The sounds of earth crumbling down a slope hint at huge, invisible forces. Crevices and peaks in the landscape suggest narrative arcs. Dry barrancos cut meandering paths through the land, allowing you to walk and observe from a highly unusual perspective. Stories present themselves in fluid forms that nevertheless build on each other the more you explore. And the land is very seductive, always enticing you to walk a bit further and try climbing the next peak.

I initially planned to experiment with recording my voice in the landscape surrounding Joya: AiR. But what I found there was so compelling that this plan was sidelined in favour of long daily walks during which I listened, observed and recorded sounds and images. By following the contours of the land and using instinct as a guide, I found ideas began flowing freely. Unexpectedly, outlines for at least two new projects coalesced during these walks. My aim now is to use the material and thoughts I gathered while at Joya: AiR to develop new video and sound works.

Behind the house is an open flat area once used to thresh wheat. One of my favourite activities was to stand there, on what feels like a huge theatre stage, where I saw myself as a tiny but connected actor in a vast, beautiful landscape. I mean 'actor' in the sense of becoming another, playing, story and myth; but also as 'one who takes action', a creatively engaged consciousness rather than an atomised individual. I was also drawn to the sound of the wind turbine spinning nearby, a small but hopeful example of the kind of action I'm thinking of. Simon's presentation, in which he explained how Joya: AiR runs sustainably off-grid, was a thought-provoking insight into the profound importance of working with the land to manage water, a reality that is easily overlooked in the rush of city / nomadic life.

Simon and Donna's passion and care for what they do is evident in every facet of the physical structure of Joya: AiR, and in the social warmth they engender. During my stay, I felt no pressure to do anything or guilt about doing nothing. This freedom from 'productivity' meant that I ended up having one of the most productive periods I can remember, all in a spirit of open and shared curiosity.

Thanks a million to you both for creating this magical and vital place, your generous hosting, sharing of knowledge, and the awesome food. Thanks also to Lucy for being such a helpful, witty and fun presence. And to my fascinating and inspiring fellow residents - thank you all so much for adding immeasurably to the experience”!

Thom Driver

Thom Driver has an extensive background in music, and in recent years has moved into working with sound installations, video, writing and drawing. He graduated in 2018 from the MA Fine Art (Master of Voice) at Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam. Primarily he is interested in the boundaries and contradictions between language and other paths of communication. His work is included in a forthcoming book on the wider Master of Voice project, to be published by Sternberg Press in 2020.

Joya: AiR / dancer / Henar Garcia / Cataluña / Spain
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


"La meva primera sensació en ser acceptada a Joya: AiR va ser que volia tenir temps per a poder explorar i analitzar tot allò que m'havia passat l'últim any.

Allà he descobert que a vegades és possible oblidar-se del temps, com si no existís, tot es para i només hi ha espai per a tu i el teu projecte.

Vaig voler reflexionar sobre tot allò que m'havia passat, buscar una identitat i tenir la capacitat d'absorbir el que l'espai m'anava a proporcionar.

Joya: AiR és un lloc ple d'energia d'aquesta que t'atrapa i no vols deixar de sentir mai.

Simon i Donna han aconseguit crear un espai lliure on se sent l'art per les parets de la casa. Entrar en els estudis és una onada de sensacions momentànies i d'energies que altres artistes han deixat.

Joya: AiR m'ha fet conèixer altres tipus d'expressió i apreciar cada simple cosa amb més consciència i afecte.

El meu projecte és la creació d'un "Solo" basat en les paraules " Desconegut" i "nostàlgia". Encara segueix en preparació, però sens dubte aquesta setmana m'ha obert les portes a un altre tipus d'inspiració.

- Deberíamos considerar perdidos los días en que no hemos bailado almenos una vez. -Friedrich Nietzsche. "

Henar Garcia

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Marina Sader / Brazil
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“In the middle of two mountains, there was a Brazilian cuttlefish learning how to fly between cacarecos and feelings, making paintings and animations.

Cacarecos are meaningless objects, silly objects.

The Brazilian cuttlefish is very attached to objects.

She is a fanatic collector of stories that the objects tell her.

She collects feelings and images through small things that she finds around her.

She is very visual, and express herself trough the clothes that she wears, paintings that she creates, and landscapes that she observes and record.

But nothing of this really matters to anyone else but her.

She paint her favourite objects because they tell her stories that cuddle her heart, but actually they are only a representation that she created to the loves that passed through her life.

Sometimes she is the object, many times she is an object.

She is addicted to loving things, and constantly moving, the result of this is a constant feeling of longing, melancholy and nostalgia, and this is saudades.

The Brazilian cuttlefish is obsessed with visual representations of saudades”.

Marina Sader .

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / writer / Nita Noveno / USA
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


‘In August, you arrive at a radiant homestead on yellow terrain, roam along fertile fields, scramble up a mountain, find light seeping through small cracks in dark rock, see seeds everywhere and nowhere, once buried and wind tossed. Semi-arid, yes, and wholly aromatic this place: lavender and thyme, pine and rosemary.

What more? Before the conceptualizing and narrating, there is the still mind. One that is tranquil, observing. Undisturbed and unencumbered. What you hoped for. Time to revise and edit and you do, fastened for hours to the page and the screen. You return to a story about memory and a father’s journey. You trace the making of identities and communities in a small Alaskan town. (The silence here connects you to the woods of your childhood home.)

By the late afternoon, a delirious wind slams shut the bedroom shutter, begging you to nap, but you stay awake in those fiery hours in a kind of trance until a cowbell rings. Close the notebook and the laptop. Set down the pen. Follow the clang downstairs. Your frenzied appetite, which has taken over, is filled by stunning bounty, bowls of white bean puree, ripe red garden tomatoes and pasta, savory onion pizza and hummus (and more and more). Seconds? Thirds? Yes, please!

Talk around the table with your cohort of wondrous creatives dips into origins and accents, family lore, that (or the next) day’s hike, the humorous and the intimate. You learn of the host’s arduous and, thankfully, successful efforts to locate water underground and bring it up, up and into the house and around the farm. In this history of viability, persistence is vital. Water is everything. 

“All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was,” observes Toni Morrison. This luminary passed just days earlier and you wonder more deeply about her words and this place, about extracting memory like water from the ground.

When an inky sky arrives, so do the Swan, the Great Bear, the Harp. (You’ve identified them on your phone’s app!) Music streams from inside out, the DJ youth favoring Spanish trap and reggaeton. We drink water, sip wine, mountains melting into black. Look up again. At bright Saturn. The daylight’s buzzing wasps gone now, replaced by cricket song, cats skittering along wall tops and roof edges, laughter rising”.


Nita Noveno


Hey, JOYA: Simon, Donna, Soli, Sessi; my fellow residents/artists/explorers: Zoe, Claudia, Alessandra, Simon L., Kazumi, Sylvia, Thibault, Samra, Rich, Jaron, Delia, and Susanne ;furry, four-legged friends, Frida and Fou Fou; the grand Sierra Maria - Los Vélez, sunsets blazing, mantises praying, agua fresca y corriente, muchas gracias y abrazos!


Nita Noveno teaches composition and literature at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. She is a graduate of The New School MFA Creative Writing Program and the founder and co-host of Sunday Salon(, a long-running monthly reading series in NYC. Nita writes about memory, culture, identity, and immigrant lives. Her work has appeared in KweliAbout Place Journal, and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s Open City Magazine, among other publications. Originally from Southeast Alaska, she lives in Queens, New York.


Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Silvia Krupinska / Slovakia
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“I've flown to Joya: AiR from London with an open mind. I wanted to relax, refresh and escape from my city life. Having done an art residency at Walthamstow Wetlands in London which stores around 40% of the water that will arrive in peoples' taps after cleaning I wondered, what the landscape could be like in a desert environment? I wanted to know how the land and its' habitat is affected by the driest spells of Andalusien summer. The next day I arrived the temperature has climbed to the 40 degrees celsius! I'd never been in such heat before (apart from the dry sauna).

During my three weeks of research I indulged in lots of sunrise and sunset walks, birdwatching, insect watching (and escaping from if I were chased by a fly), goat walking, rock formations scanning, barranco exploring, mostly avoiding the deep midday heat, fossil hunting and looking for marks of any other animals left behind. Most of my curiosities were tickled by learning about the alpine desert landscape I was set deeply within. I'm a sculptor. I had to bring some of this sun-scorched landscape with me indoors to an art studio. Canvas bags full of soil and clay in three different colours were so exciting to work with and desperately heavy to carry in. Full of minerals and colour, the soil helped me to produce dozens of prints on paper. Another line of inquiry in my research had taken a turn by chance. When I planted linseeds as an experiment, something has happened. Hundreds of forest ants queued up for the seeds and have been simply taking them away down their hole! Leaving the mud marks behind as they were pulling the seeds, they produced delicate drawings.

I'm back now in London. I can reflect back at my summer and it's clear to me, this art residency not only has given me a chance to play without any guilt or time constraint but also has changed my aesthetic sensibilities. I see the world differently. I need the white rocky walls or sun-bleached sedimentary rock, I need more of the green, and I need more clarity and more open space. In my mind and in my life, however dramatic this may sound. Thank you, Joya, so much for having me there and sharing with me your world. Thanks a million!

Silvia Krupinska

Silvia Krupinska is a London-based sculptor of Slovak origin. She moved to London in 1999, studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art and Design, UAL (grad. 2006) and took an MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins College, UAL (grad. 2016). 
She has exhibited internationally, including in an EU-Art-Network exhibition in Palazzo Albrizzi, The Venice Biennale 2009 and I've also participated in a number of shows and art symposiums in Austria, Germany, Azerbaijan and Slovakia. 

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Claudia den Boer / Netherlands
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“The light, the light, the light…


“Everything is always in the process of becoming and perishing and never really is” 

– Plato’s Timaeus, John Bowker, God - A Very Short Introduction, p17


At Joya: AIR the days seem to stretch themselves out, from one into the other.

I enjoyed the seclusion of the house in the open hills and mountains, quiet and very lively at the same time. I was surprised to learn the landscape is a desert, while yet so green, beautiful, but not an easy landscape for me to photograph. Within my project When Is A Mountain, I was looking for something particular and this wasn’t within my grasp. A challenge. But the landscape always gives something, so I embraced it as it is while making photographs and video’s of parts of hills and mountains, with the stillness of the softly moving ‘moody trees’. 

Besides the environment, Joya: AIR was perfect for me to work on another part of the same project. In the ever-blazing sun I could make my little studio outside and - with the elements of the landscape - make landscape type images of stones I brought with me from previous travels. Joya AIR was also perfect to experiment with making sequences, to take the time to photograph the movement of light and shadow on the mountains and stones during the course of a day.

Simon and Donna’s house is gorgeous, everything made with great attention, passion and consideration. They’re very welcoming and my fellow artists were great. We had good talks and laughs and interesting presentations. A joyful experience! And every day I saw the sun rise from my bedroom window and enjoyed the sunsets; both gorgeous and never really the same”.


Claudia den Boer (NL)


Claudia den Boer (NL, 1979) studied visual arts and got her BA in photography at art academy AKV| St.Joost and holds a teachers degree from art academy ABV. Her first long-term personal project Anchors (2016) was made into a photo book, designed by Rob van Hoesel and published by The Eriskay Connection. It was presented at Breda Photo 2016 and was part of the Experimental Book Platform by Punto de Fuga during Paris Photo 2016. In 2017 her work was selected for the collection of FotoFilmic/PULP Gallery in Vancouver (CA). The book has been exhibited at photofestival Naarden (NL), Athens Photo Festival (GR), I Book Show in Brighton (UK) and in St.Petersburg (RU). Claudia participated in two desert AIR-programs; the New Mexican desert (US, 2013) and the Sahara (MA, 2015) and was selected to take part in ISSP (LV) in 2016. Claudia received a partial grand in 2017 for a working period at International Art Residency Can Serrat (ES) where she started working on her new personal project ‘When is a mountain’ and in 2018 travelled to the Georgian Caucasus for this work in progress.

Claudia also likes to collaborate in multi disciplinary projects. In the past she worked with architectural firm Ontwerplab (NL) on research project and publication Verborgen Stad (Hidden City). In 2016 she started collaborating with choreographer Katja Grässli (CH/NL) and became artistic partner of Foundation MoveToMeet. MoveToMeet was funded by Makersfonds (2017), P.B. Cultuurfonds (2017 and 2018) and Impulsgelden (2018) and are working on two long-term projects: project Stil Geluid (Silent Sound) on the subject of silence and intercultural project and collaboration with dancers Beh Chin Lau (MY) and Natalie Wagner (CH/DE) and cultural philosopher Marc Colpaert (BE) titled Cataract. In both of these projects she expands her photography to the space of the decor of the dance performances.


Joya: AiR / Delia Boyano Lopez de Villalta / ESP
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


‘La relación con el tiempo que estableces al llegar a JOYA: AiR es tangible y contradictoria: por un lado, el tiempo se suspende como si quedaras atrapado en el frame de una película y, a su vez, los días pasan con una rapidez abrumadora. Esta ruptura con la cronología habitual de nuestras rutinas, da lugar a un ritmo vital alternativo cuyo motor es el equilibrio con la naturaleza. 

Estar una semana en una casa, un entorno y con una gente maravillosa sabe a poco. JOYA: AiR ha sido una experiencia inolvidable en todos los aspectos y cuando vas por primera vez ya estás pensando en el siguiente proyecto que harás cuando vuelvas. La Cortijada Los Gázquez está a tan solo unas horas de Málaga, ciudad donde resido, pero las conversaciones con los compañeros, las cenas en grupo, los paseos por los senderos y la montaña, la infinita tranquilidad… me han permitido escuchar y ver un universo nuevo y sugerente. 

En este entorno del Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez, la naturaleza deja claro que no tiene límites. Asistes como humilde observador a un escenario en el que todo se intensifica y los tonos ocres, amarillos y verdes del campo existen en un tipo de belleza que no se puede captar. Recuerdo la emoción que sentí al llegar a la cima de Sierra Gigante: después de una hora de subida llegué al punto de mayor altitud, giré sobre mi misma en un ángulo de 360° y entendí la grandeza de lo que me rodeaba. Apenas se pueden ver un par de pueblos a lo lejos, y entonces las montañas, campos, árboles, el cielo, te cuentan su historia en silencio. 

Al principio de mi estancia estaba escribiendo e investigando una serie de nociones relacionadas con el movimiento, el cuerpo y la materia, pero los paseos por los alrededores de la casa transformaron, casi sin darme cuenta, las letras en acciones. Andar, escalar, ver, caminar sobre trigo, rocas o barro seco. Estos recorridos que hice desde el primer día, fueron el punto de partida para el proyecto que realicé. Me di cuenta de que el propio acto de caminar e intentar recorrer distintos terrenos hacía conectar mi cuerpo de un modo muy especial con el entorno. No se trataba de andar por una calle, de un edificio a otro, en línea recta, sino que tenía que ver con escuchar  la materialidad del suelo que pisaba y responderante las necesidades. Los campos de cardos, las zonas montañosas con piedras, cada una me llevaba a estar haciendo y siendo de distintas formas. Comencé a interesarme entonces por aprehender todos los matices que surgían en la interacción entre cuerpo y terreno/espacio natural. Capté por un lado los movimientos de las piernas, los brazos, la flexión de las articulaciones, el esfuerzo de los músculos, la dirección de la mirada y, por otro, el tiempo que tardaba en recorrer cada espacio, las emociones, ideas o palabras que surgían en el proceso. A partir de este estudio de campo, realicé una serie de grabaciones en vídeo y de dibujos que están a medio camino entre las instrucciones para entender dichos espacios y la documentación de una suerte de performance que no podemos saber muy bien si es real o imaginaria. 

Tener a Simon y Donna como anfitriones ha sido uno de los mayores placeres. El paisaje y la casa te hacen sentir especial, pero ellos han conseguido cultivar un entorno acogedor en el que no dudas en querer implicarte. Su proyecto vital, que entiende la cultura como agente fundamental en la ecología y conservación del medio ambiente, es inspirador. Vivir en una casa sostenible e independiente basada en técnicas tradicionales, ha sido una gran oportunidad. Toda esta energía positiva y renovadora hacen a JOYA un lugar ideal para investigar, experimentar y sentir. 

Muchas gracias a JOYA: AiR por una experiencia que ha sido pura belleza y que espero pronto volver a disfrutar. 


Delia Boyano

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Alessandra Stradella / Italy / USA
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


Joya: AiR / After the Experience 


‘There is something absolutely special about Joya: AiR. I will try to translate into words, although there is so much that I will not be able to capture. In fact, I believe this may define the essence of what I lived there: it being beyond what can be narrated, almost a rare quality of pure experience. 

 On the way to Los Gázquez (home of Joya: AiR) from Vélez Rubio, that’s where my residency began. The roads and the views are breathtaking, they tell you already of beautiful things to come. Los Gázquez is an enchanted place, so calm and peaceful, yet so vibrant. The way I remember it is as an encounter: with your own self, with others, with nature. I felt at home from the very moment I arrived. 

I came to Joya: AiR with the desire to engage physically with the process of painting and try acrylic and pastels on large-scale paper. One of the reasons I paint is to set concepts, reasoning, and judgment aside. Those define my life as a philosophy professor. Abstract painting takes me into a different territory. I wanted to work from within the painting and I wanted to let things happen, just listening, living, and responding to whatever I would have felt when honestly placed in front of nature. That was my project, and so much more has happened. 

I spent my time as it unveiled, naturally. There were no constraints, no expectations. I found myself producing much more than I ever expected. There was an energy in the space, in the silence, in the interactions, in the conversations that inspired me endlessly. It was an inner urgency, an urgency without urgency. The studio I was offered was a sacred space, so beautiful. I just loved my time spent there, I felt as living within the process of creation. 

I got to Joya: AiR with a creative project and I found myself into much more and much higher than the mine. Time there has been a time for reflection on how to live, a reminder of how effortless and rich life can be, if lived and savoured in all its simplicity. 

Time gets back to lived time, as opposed to clock time. Nature gets back to all its majesty and power. Things get back to their thingness. Labels get stripped and you encounter nature for what it is. A tree, a road, a sunset, a stone, a sound, the wind, the moon, they are back to be what they are. Nature regains its sublimity.

I remember very vividly the awe and respect, the exhilaration, but also the uneasiness and discomfort, and even the pain I felt just looking at nature. At times, a sunset was too much to take in. It has been such an awakening and humbling experience just to be there. There is something absolutely humbling and unifying about taking walks in pure solitude or having dinner with your new friends under a sky full of stars. It is a strong sense of belonging. 

Donna and Simon: Thank you for your warmth and your generosity, your inspiring conversations and our laughs, and the fabulous, fabulous dinners.  

Thank you to all the beautiful and generous artists, my companions in this adventure. I owe you so much. I am so deeply grateful for all the time and the experiences we shared. I felt as living in an embrace. 

I hope to be back one day. Thank you from my deepest heart’. 


Alessandra Stradella

M.A. in Philosophy at Georgia State University (2002), and a Ph.D. in Philosophy at Emory University (2008). Assistant Professor in Philosophy with a specialisation in Philosophy of Art at Philadelphia since 2008. 

March 2019, awarded the third prize for Abstract Painting at the Annual Exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia. 2019 participated to the Collective Exhibit, Art et Al., Da Vinci Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA.

Publications in Academia: “Performance Art and the Seduction of Theatricality,” Philosophy Study, 2012, “The Fiction of the Standard of Taste: David Hume on the Social Constitution of Beauty,” The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 2012, “On Grief: An Aesthetic Defense,” Philosophical Practice, 2011, “The Dramatic Nature of Our Selves: David Hume and the Theatre Metaphor,” Literature and Aesthetics, 2010. 

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Kazumi Sakurai / Hawaii / USA
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


”My first plan to spend time at Joya: AiR was to look back my photos from the past, and select and edit from there. It’s easy for me to just keep taking photos, but not really spend time to look what I have.

Presentation became huge help on this process, and I could find different prospective on my work.

It was more than just work, I am able to find myself from other direction.

Because of conversations with other artists, witnessing their creations, approach to the work, their endless curiosity and passion brought me deeper understanding for my work and myself. It showed me freedom and expansion in creation, and gave me new theme and inspirations. It was such a gift, it almost some sort of healing. Time in Joya: AiR was more than I expected”.

Kazumi Sakurai

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Nasia Papavasiliou / CYP
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“Joya made  the words of Edmund Husserl make much more sense to me,

Bodies are given as having the sense of being earthly bodies and space is given as having the sense of earth - space. The totality of WE, of human beings or ‘animated beings’, is in this sense earthly and has no contrary in the non earthly. The earth is therefore neither just a globe (a body among many celestial bodies) nor just a spatial container for human life, but the horizon of the world and the precondition for sensation. 

The isolation, the connection with nature, the silence and the closeness to the stars, the crickets, the sunset theatre every 9:15 pm, the wind that became a sensible background sound and the vast landscape of the mountains reminded me how small we are in comparison to our surrounded earth and universe but at the same time the human intervention in a cooperation and inevitable connection to the landscape that could be felt so deeply. I could feel the earth, I could feel life and dryness co-existing and I could pay attention to it. I did  many walks to observe it, shared many chats to describe it, spent a lot of time doing nothing but being in sync with it - with out any guilt of not being productive, It felt so important and pure to do this. 

Simon and Donna’s house felt like home. Like an invite to come and bring us back again  to the basic notions of belonging. We shared chats, life stories, dinners, laughs, sensitive talks and and a vibe and energy not too easy to find. A remembrance of how innovative but yet pure humans can be and remain. I should mention the amazing food Donna prepared for us and Simon’s music that was adding the right note for us to feel so engaged to the place and to each other. 

I developed work that  emerged in a very natural and intuitive manner  from the thoughts that nature is not a site that is subjected to human signification. Nature cannot be contained within, or reproduced as, an artwork, the earth appears as a temporal or sensorial plethora at the limit of representational form. 

Using the land as a sculptural medium, I looked into earth art a lot, something that initiated to me an interrogation of how the elusive presence of nature problematizes the drive to represent. I was drawn to contradictions, to natural sculptures I could find around and the visual metaphors and the ironies they brought out to me. That of course after I gave meaning to them through the way I looked at them, and that itself became part of the work.  I could feel that I was trying to find ways to interpret the place in my mind yet I was also trying to understand all the circles and connections that I could make to the human body. I remembered why humans are part of nature, something we usually forget just because we usually work against it. 

The results challenged the way I usually produce work concluding to a combination of elements like  post-minimalist sculpture to body art performances, installation and photographic/spatial interventions.  

obra - Nasia Papavasiliou @joyaair

obra - Nasia Papavasiliou @joyaair


Joya: AiR, found a way to immediately get me back in touch to my senses and then my practice. Two elements that shouldn’t be separated, and that was a great reminder. 

The sunset meeting point was a great example of how similar we all are, and how as simple as that, we all have something in common, we are observers who may have come from different parts of the world yet the sun and the moon will always be understood the same way. 

Joya: AiR, muchisimas gracias”. 

Nasia Papavasiliou

Nasia is a Greek Cypriot performance practitioner and graduate of Central Saint Martins college of Art and Design in MA Performance Design and Practice. She is currently a Teaching and Learning Assistant tutor for the equivalent BA course of Performance at CSM. Her research and practice is site-specific and she studies the artistic representations of lived experiences in different locations. Her work looks into how these can help to identify thought processes, make critical interventions and engage in conversation about social structures.
Her practice is based on a socio-anthropological methodology that relies on ethnographic fieldwork methods and participant and (or) personal observation positioning. She creates both theatre and gallery based work, whilst she uses both outdoor and urban spaces. Her most recent works were shown and exhibited in London (Zabludowicz collection, Barbican Centre and Platform Theatre King's Cross), Athens (Metaxourghion Theatre) and Cyprus (Point Centre of Contemporary Art).

Joya: AiR / Lucy Topp / GBR
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


"Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature." -David Holmgren.

“My time at Joya: AiR was an authentic, beautiful and tranquil experience from the scenery, to the people, to the day to day living. Joya AiR was a perfect time for me to reflect and work at my own pace after the pressures of University.

Within the unspoilt landscapes of Los Gázquez (Joya: AiR), I explored natural forms and shapes, observing and appreciating the details, and directly interacting with my surroundings through printmaking and other mixed media processes. Getting to know other creatives and their working processes was an insightful and exciting part of the studio environment.

Walking down to the riverbed was my favourite place to discover, where it felt like time had stood still and watching Pepe the shepherd herd the goats and sheep of a day was a beautiful escape from busy modern life. As such I became conscious of the history of the Cortijada Los Gázquez which created a magical atmosphere during my stay, mindful of life that had lived and breathed here before.

It was so inspiring to see how Simon and Donna put a sustainable and off-grid lifestyle into practice down to every detail. Part of my research here was observing the ecological systems put into play, which is something I will take away with me as an on-going project.

Thank you Simon and Donna for the most wonderful experience”!

Lucy Topp

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / John Galvin / IRE
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


Ten sunsets (each distinct)

An electrical storm tracking north across the valley.

An excess of light


Stars (to begin) like I have rarely seen. After dinner, head thrown back

Then, the moon. White clay floodlit.


Walking the barranco, uncoiling westward. 

White dust, soft rock, Aleppo Pine.


Space and time to think. Or not.

The sound of goat-bells.


Easy silences.


(and ping pong)



- Thank you Simon and Donna for creating such a welcoming space 

(and the wonderful meals!)

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Ellie Barrett / GBR
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


"I’m a sculptor and practice-based PhD student, researching the meaning that is embodied in material, and the ways in which it can absorb social and political narratives. My sculptures investigate the treatment and consumption of bodies, theories, objects and artworks. 

I came to Joya: AiR to explore and examine ways in which raw material can reveal itself in completed artworks, overflowing from the finished product as opposed to disappearing into the surface. This is important in my work, as my sculptures intend to demonstrate that material cannot be completely controlled but rather resists our intentions and, in doing so, influences our social behaviour. 

I studied the earth around Joya: AiR, which is composed of beautiful silky clay. It is stark white, soft beige, salmon pink and coffee brown. It is velvet sand and hard stone. Rather than making, I spent my time here capturing the various ways the clay around me reacted to my interventions.  I immersed myself in this material, examining the ways it could be smeared with water, kneaded into dough or crumbled into dust between fingers. I documented the different forms, colours and states it existed in. I also recorded my observations and transcribed them, creating a text based work which reflected the materiality of the clay in written language. 

Navigating this landscape increased my awareness of the material around me, and drew attention to the ways in which our encounters with it can shape our understanding of the world. From this research, I have developed strategies for drawing out the materiality of substances, which I will bring back to my studio in order to represent material as temperamental, messy and unexpected in my finished sculptures."

Ellie Barrett

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Tatjana Hirschmugl / AUT
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


“Experiencing the drought of a desert-like landscape certainly deepens appreciation for water. 

This was among the first realisations I had during my stay with Donna & Simon. They kindly invited me to spend a few days in their tranquil home which bears a charm difficult to describe. 

In the seclusion of Joya: AiR many things have fallen into place for me. 

Since I am questioning the materialistic aspects of my lifestyle I was hoping to get a glimpse of a verified more sustainable approach just as well as room for letting my mind wander and for finding the muse to pick up a drawing pencil again. Joya: AiR turned out to provide the perfect setting for all of that: A spacious exploration area free of schedules while full of opportunities; peacefully embedded in untouched wilderness. 

The harsh conditions for nature would suggest absence of diversity, but the opposite is the case. The air is filled with vibrancy of humming bees and flies, and there was another soothing sound that attracted my attention since the moment I arrived – the wind turbine. This turbine is an essential power source feeding Joya: AiR and its guests with electricity and is just one example of the thought-through concept which implements the natural constraints and benefits given in that area.

I explored the scenery with all my senses. Visually, I grasped the vegetation while going for walks and hikes, supplied with a sketchbook or my camera. Thereby eagles, rabbits and a fox have crossed my path. The odours of dry grass, wild rosemary and pine trees were omnipresent; the taste buds were tickled every night by a delicious food creation. Los Gázquez is also tactile as the ground is based on clay and can be turned into anything imaginable upon moisturising. 

So while my body sunk into a mode of pure relaxation, the brain remained stimulated due to lively exchange of thoughts, worries and ideas with multifaceted artists who were sharing time with me at this distinct place. I got highly inspired to immerse myself further into the artistic world and motivated to work on my personal contribution when it comes to downsizing the threat we pose to our environment. The impact may be a small one, but I hope to become a seed for friends, family and local communities to follow a less destructive path and strengthen awareness. Joya: AiR, made a lasting impression. The spark leaped over”. 

Tatjana Hirschmugl

Tatjana is a research scientist holding a Masters degree from the University of Vienna. She currently works as a laboratory assistant at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Lung Vascular Research in Graz. Previously she worked as a research assistant at CeMM Research Centre for Molecular Medicine in Vienna. Her research interests are the genetics of malignant and immune system disorders.

She also has a strong background & knowledge of  fluorescence microscopy, next-generation sequencing techniques, human genetics, and an advanced application of graphic design/image processing tools.

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Richard Jochum / Austria - USA
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


For Joya: AIR I created two new pieces: 1) One for Each Hand consists of two stones cased in crochet. Initially, I intended to place them in trees. As I became familiar with them as objects that comfortably fit into one’s hands, though, it became obvious that they invite some kind of a task (e.g., weighing, throwing, juggling). The gauging of the right action makes them “land art pieces for one body at a time,” playfully interacting with our surroundings. As opposed to traditional land art, which often aims at grand interventions, One for Each Hand puts forth a more direct relationship between body and land.

‘one for each hand’ Richard Jochum

‘one for each hand’ Richard Jochum


2) Speaks for Itself, a temporary installation, consists of five shopping bags attached to a tree branch. The plastic bags, icons of an unsustainable life form, conjure up the motto of the Joya residency: art + ecology. As a gesture, they are simple: arranged in one neat line and floating in the wind, they project calm and peace rather than what they have come to represent: decades of waste. Both sides co-exist.  

‘speaks for itself’ Richard Jochum

‘speaks for itself’ Richard Jochum


The two pieces are based on materials readily available at this desert-residency site and the bodily constraints that I brought with me during this time (shoulder injury), which limited the radius of my actions. With great thanks to the residency hosts Simon and Donna Beckmann and my fellow residents for their support, particularly Tatjana Hirschmugl for teaching me to crochet and Michael Aspli for performing”. 


Richard Jochum PhD MFA

Associate Professor of Art and Art Education

Teachers College, Columbia University

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Nadya Eidelstein / Russia
photo Simon Beckmann

photo Simon Beckmann


‘Being removed from the pressure to produce and present any outcome in the end, I was able to take time to listen to my intuition in order to understand which creative direction to take next when I am back from the residency. These two weeks were crucial for me to realise how much I used to be driven by my noisy rational mind in any creative pursuits. So I spent most of the studio time doing intuitive drawings with oil pastels listening to my body and being driven by inner impulses, dismissing any reasoning that came from my conscious mind. The process of making these drawings was very helpful for my creative self-liberation because I shifted my focus and put more value into the actual process rather than the outcome.

Every day I spent some time hiking, connecting with the unique environment and biodiversity of Sierra María-Los Vélez, meditating outside. I took the opportunity of being surrounded by so many plant species unknown to me to document the variety of shapes I found, so I can use this vocabulary of plant forms in my future projects.

Studio time and time spent in nature was of great healing importance to me but the interactions and conversations with people I met in Joya: AiR were equally transformative. Every dinner meal shared together was nourishing for the body and mind. Simon and Donna’s impressive efforts put into creating such a place and caring for the land made me expand my understanding of possible ways an artist can contribute to the restoration and healing of damaged and/or abandoned environments’.

Nadya Eidelstein

Nadya Eidelstein is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Toronto, Canada. She received her BA from Central Saint Martins, London, UK. Since graduation she has been working on the border between machine-made and handmade approaches, trying to define what makes these ways of making different, how they are similar, and how to blur the definitions of man-made and computer-made.

Simon Beckmann