“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 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.