Joya: AiR / Gill Ord / UK
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"Here in Spain I’m aware of the gap between the idea and the reality of having all day to look and paint. In between action there is time to think, locate, be anxious about the right way to spend the time.

Sitting in the shade, looking out at the sunlight, sitting with the sun on your face. Walking in the dusty desert landscape, getting spiked by hardy aromatic plants adapted to the environment. 
Snoozing with patches of sunlight on the duvet. Reading to enlighten, focus, escape.

Thinking of Thomas Jones in Italy, painting the light, and of Agnes Martin working in the studio, back to the window. 

Is there a right way to go about this, how is time best spent, how to be porous, yet resilient and robust. 

I’ve been moving between a boulder in front of a wall and the Studio (not a rock and a hard place). Outside I’m exposed to the sun, at times it’s windy (stones in my pallets, to hold them down) the silence, isn’t, there’s bugs, and birdsong, the wind turbine, fighter jets. But mostly there is a stillness and it feels nourishing, slowing down the senses".

 

Gill Ord

 

http://www.gillord.co.uk/

 
Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR /Anna Paes / Brazil
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"These days I spent in residence were a great opportunity and experience for me. 

The silence, the  landscape  and the energy of this place gave me a good sensation to produce a new series of work.

The numerous colours of the minerals I could see walking the mountains also inspired for me a new and intense production.

Those were unforgettable days.

Thanks Simon and Donna for all attention and kindness. It was great to be with you and all of you who were together these days".

Anna Paes

http://www.annapaes.com.br/

 
Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / K Goldstein / France
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"What an amazing Adventure I’ve lived in Joya !

It is like an Oasis of creation and for me the entire area was a giant playground of landscapes, colours, scents, highs and inspirations.

The nature, day after day, takes more and more space in your vision, your thoughts, your dreams. 

It feels so good to be alone in a wild forest or desert, trying to create and taking time for it.

I always feel more powerful when i don’t suffer from the lack of time, when time will just adapt to my speed and way of work.  And, in Joya, it was actually the case. 

I only stayed a week and that’s my only regret because it was beginning to really feel like home.

In fact the house is so warm and wonderfully decorated with so much taste that you only can feel at ease there. Art is everywhere and it gives you energy, ideas and inspiration to keep working.

One other wonderful side of Joya is the hosts Donna and Simon who are a real delight to meet and speak with. Donna is making your dinner look like heaven on a plate and Simon gave me the best tips to find some gorgeous place for my work. 

It is also very interesting and inspiring how they could find way to live in the middle of this desert and develop great ideas and actions about ecology and preservation.

I try to use this time to find some new dances protocoles and develop a new aspect of video aesthetics for those Dancescapes in Andalusia. Those big landscapes questioned me a lot about the small, and the little you can do in such a big place.

At last, one other charming side of this residency are other residents who were really nice, great and interesting. We all came from differents places of the planet and with different practices and how rich and rejuvenating to discover others visions of Art.

Joya just opened a space in my mind where i know i can come back with joy, comfort and smile".

K Goldstein

www.keatbeck.fr

instagram: keatbeck.dancescape facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ciekeatbeck/

portrait by Solomon Beckmann

 
Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Hillel O'Leary / USA
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'There is a longing here. 

The topography has been molded into a vessel. It bends to the will of water, and forever awaits its return. 

Ruins sit forgotten along sun-bleached banks. Their doors are still open.

There is a lonely mountain in the distance. It is a haze tethered somewhere between solidity and ether, and I visit with it every morning to be sure this balance has not tipped. We have an unspoken agreement that there will be nothing without substance, and nothing too substantial for its own good.

There is a palpable stillness, an enveloping, ever-present silence that flows beneath the sand and clay. It is a kind of sonic negative space whose perimeter is loosely defined by winding stories, and punctuated with sudden fits of laughter.

Maybe it is all a mirage. Another spaghetti western fiction where names are not terribly important, and actions, if they can be proven, are the true measure of one’s worth. (We ate spaghetti in fact last night. It was quite good).

No, it is quite real, quite essential. A place where one who is willing can pare down the tangential outgrowth of a developing art practice, and return to the centre of making. The core of being. 

Here, the water has come back

The house is full'.

Hillel O’Leary is a New York sculptor whose work deals in place, time, and belonging.

He is a recent graduate of the Penn State sculpture MFA program, and he holds a bachelor’s degree from the Rhode Island School of Design. 

His recent work has been featured in the US and internationally, including exhibitions as part of the Digital Stone Project in Italy’s Tuscany region. 

https://www.behance.net/hilleloleary

 
Joya: AiR / Jill Gibson / UK
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"Rock solid, impenetrable, arid, harsh .......Dust a second skin over everything. This place – painted with a different palette entirely.....green grey hue, white chalk, lime zing, pink pop, orange zest, bible black Dylan Thomas sky dotted with diamond shine. Expanse humbling in its enormity. 

Landscape in all its loveliness - with no apology for its rawness.

In contrast the relaxing nature of Los Gázquez (home of Joya: AiR) enabled me to work at my own pace - exploring issues and concepts which considered the boundaries between urban and rural, interior and exterior space. Taking walks each day across the Sierra then returning to translate the visual 'imprints', I worked using both 3 dimensional and collaged elements which collided, contrasted and evolved over the days. The process resulted in various manifestations, excavations and considerations all of it revolved around the collective domestic buzz of the Beckmann household - warm, caring, sociable and intelligently informative.......the work began to emerge with references to the inside versus outside - a subjective versus objective view of my immediate environment.

There have been interesting developments, shifts in ideas, ways of thinking and an emerging dialogue, often the discourse spilling over into the evenings which were spent eating amazing food, gathering around the wood burner in the evenings flopped on large comfortable sofas, enjoying a glass of wine along with my fellow artists. I will treasure my time here.......truly enhanced by the rich, funny and informative experiences of fellow artists Karin, Hillel, Rachel, Mark, Bob and Marion, with much thanks to Simon, Donna, Soli, Sesi and Max the dog for welcoming me into their home and making my time here so pleasurable and constructive. A huge thank you". 

 

Jill Gibson

http://www.jillgibson.co.uk/

 
Joya: AiR / Bob Lawson / UK
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"I arrived at Velez Rubio at night, was collected by Simon and driven through the darkness and indiscernible landscape to Joya: AiR. I was longing for sleep after a fourteen hour journey and was greeted with wonderful food, wine and warmth. I have a vague memory of tumbling into bed.

The morning light was truly astonishing, waking to a view from the bedroom window across the tops of olive trees with a rising mountain set against a clear blue sky in the still , silent air.

I hold firmly to the maxim that everything is defined by it’s context and, given that my allocated studio looked out into a bone-dry mountainous landscape I was wondering to what extent this alien terrain might impact on the work I may produce.

My work is often described as ‘urban’, not least because I have explored ‘bill-board evidence ‘ to generate collages that partake of the social history of a place. A kind of ‘social archeology ‘ where I unpeel the layers of patterns, events and activities and re-frame what I find. It is something I did in other residencies In Thessaloniki, in Venice and in Crete so naturally I collected peeling, torn posters in Granada to enable me to make a start. It is an interesting way to engage with a place and affords focus and time to adjust to the surrounding environment.

Staying at Joya: allowed me to set my own routine, to dip in and out of work when I wanted to and also to remain focused and locked in to whatever I was doing for as long as I wished. I felt completely relaxed throughout my stay and found that even though I worked at a leisurely pace I was able to produce an interesting and varied range of work, whilst appraising and re-appraising the processes I was using.

Each day was rounded with excellent food, wine and conversation and I enjoyed this immensely. Meeting other artists, listening to presentations and also rising to the challenge of presenting and discussing my own practice was stimulating and challenging.

In simple terms, Joya is a tremendous project and I would love to return in the near future".

 

Bob Lawson

http://www.boblawsonartist.co.uk/

 
Joya: AiR / Stephen Sheffield / UK
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"On my arrival, travelling back from Vélez Rubio a huge wild boar ran in front of Simon’s Land Rover head lights and disappeared into the darkness -very exciting, this was my first Wild Boar encounter. 

The fact that this is the 5th time that I have returned, is testimony to what Joya: AiR  means to me. There is a peace and calm that the surrounding alpine desert brings after the hustle and bustle of London. 

I accept that it takes a day or 2 to acclimatise to the serene surroundings, which is part of the process and concentrates the mind.

Simon, Donna and their family were as ever, the convivial hosts. I look forward to the evening meals and the food is always fantastic. It’s good to break bread and catch up with the other artists too, who invariably are diverse and interesting characters.

As I wrestle with my painting, Simon’s suggestions and guidance has proved invaluable to me and I leave inspired and energised. 

Moving forward in my development, there are questions to resolve regarding narrative, lines of enquiry and how that manifests itself in my mark making:- These are points that I relish and look forward to addressing thanks to my residency at Joya: AiR".

 

Stephen Sheffield / October 2017

 
Joya: AiR / writer / Rick Maddocks / Canada
 

Arrival:

"After stepping off the bus at Velez-Rubio, I was yanking my too-heavy backpack out of the luggage hold when I heard a stranger say, in a polite English voice, “Are you Rick?” I smiled and turned around to find a young man with wide-eyed look. He introduced himself as Stephen and said he was just leaving Joya and was getting on the very bus out of which I’d just stepped. He had what can be best described as “that Joya look”—relaxed, open, expanded even. Steve told me that our host Simon was across the street for me at a café, where he was waiting for me with another artist. But first Stephen and I found ourselves a conversation—about how I was happily returning to Joya and about what he’d been working on during his stay, how he’d departed from his usual art practice and had begun working with the amazing landscape at the residency-- all while the bus was taking on passengers and just about to close the doors. Stephen’s last words to me before he jumped on the bus: “I envy you”.

 

Stay:

The rugged beauty of the circular valley that holds Joya in its palm. Simon’s and Donna’s warmth, insight and generosity of spirit. The white earth that is rich with rumours and dreams. Wonderful, hearty dinners with our hosts and fellow artists. The Syrian pines glowing green under sun and cloud. The beautiful minimalist design of the repurposed cortijada at Los Gázquez. The smell of fresh rosemary in the valley. Enlightening and inspiring artist talks, in which surprise is usually a key ingredient. The rustic second studio space outside the living quarters, a perfect place in which to map out ideas for a novel, write a bunch more scenes and ideas and even write some trumpet and string parts for another project. The shimmer of goat bells drifting across the valley. A gigantic yellow moon slowly climbing over the hill at midnight, filling Los Gázquez with light. Getting spoiled with delicious breakfasts by a French-Tunisian-American cookbook author. A sky exploding with stars on clear nights. The walks down the barrancos and up the mountain and the (thankfully) vain searches for wild boar. The psychic and physical space I was gifted so I could follow the vision, wherever it roamed.

 

Departure:

Getting up at dawn (one of my great achievements at Joya), I stepped outside with my still-too-heavy backpack and saw the valley below filling to the brim with pillows of cloud. It was silent but for the slow, hushed preparations for the day echoing from the house. As Donna drove us out of Joya’s valley to Velez Rubio, from where we’d go on to our respective destinations, I looked back to see the great cloud spill over the side of the lower valley and drift through the trees surrounding the cortijada. The sun was coming up over the mountain to the east and the world was, in some indefinable way, expanding". 

 

Rick Maddox

You can see Rick Maddocks performing here in Country of Madmen by Sun Belt, from the album/book Cabalcor: An Extracted History (OffSeason Records/Anvil Press). 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq-ofDacMRM

SUN BELT is a musical experiment reaching into other arts.

http://www.sunbeltband.com/

Cabalcor publication by Sunbelt

 

http://www.anvilpress.com/Books/cabalcor-an-extracted-history

 

 

 

 

 
Joya: AiR / Leah Teschendorff / Australia
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"We dream of time to concentrate on our work: reading, thinking, experimenting and playing with ideas without pressure or the weight of daily existence and chores as a distraction. Time at Joya: AiR affords the realisation of that dream... a light-filled studio. A beautiful, calm house with inspiring things all around, textured surfaces, art, books, wonderful energy and the air filled with the delicious smells of Donna Beckmann's cooking. At night it is silent (apart from the singing crickets) and the stars in the black sky are brilliant. As I walked for hours every day I observed the impact of agriculture on the arid landscape and the patterns created by humans and animals. I noted the specialised flora: pine and juniper trees, wild rosemary, thyme, santolina, and euphorbia. My work was inspired by the stunning landscape around me and go home to my studio with a new body of work and ideas to develop. Thank you Simon and Donna"!

 

Leah Teschendorff

 
Joya: AiR / Yiwen Wang / China
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"Much of my work explores my emotional relationship with my memory -the way in which memory can affect us and the story we created by projecting the belief or desire. My work focuses on performances and mixes it with videos and photography. I enjoy using bricolage and involves overlapping video or visual images to rebuild them in order to convey my idea which stems from my memory and make something meaningful.

I intend to look for an open and wide place where I can continue my meditation Performance: sleeping piece which first performed in the UK in an indoor environment. During the stay in JOYA: AiR, I explored the forest here and sleep with a pillow on the land with the pine tree, every day two hours for about one week. I try to use my body interact with nature by the way of photography and performance. The landscape here quite similar with the work of Anselm Kiefer which also inspire me and I also took lots of photos and sketchbooks. 

Besides, Simon and his family are really hospitable,the food there is quite delicious.I will never forget Joya which give me the lovely memory and opportunity to do the art I really want to do, their professional technical support for my work as well".

Yiwen Wang

 
Joya: AiR / Orly Olivier / USA
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"Waking up in the morning to light streaming through the window, the sound of buzzing bee’s, and the smell of the raw nature all around you is awe inspiring. My time here was intense, productive but also restful. The only distractions are the ones that you create. I was able to accomplish a great deal during my time at Joya AiR. 

 
 

Los Gázquez is dreamy space filled with light, unique collections of ephemera, art, textiles and ceramics and most of all collection wonderful artists. Our hosts Donna and Simon are helpful, generous and inspiring. I also loved their collection of fuzzy friends Fufu the goat, Max the dog and the 7 cats that I forced into being my friends. They have created a magical space for artists to come and focus on their work. 

My time here was spent cooking and writing for a cookbook project that I have been working on for a couple of years now. I found myself many eager taste testers and kitchen that inspired many new recipes. I managed to complete and almost print a rough draft of the book. I am deeply grateful for the time that I spent here and leave with a feeling of accomplishment. I hope to return again soon".

www.petittakett.com

 
Joya: AiR / Debbie Mackinnon / Australia
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“It starts with gratitude.

One of the curses of living in such a fast-paced society is that we tend to take things for granted. We overlook everyday blessings, oblivious to the gifts around us. And we tend to rush through each day, less and less grateful, or mindful; which is no way to live.

I love my life in Sydney, Australia. It’s a full and interesting life but it has sometimes been overwhelming, dealing with all the issues of running my art business, my domestic home management, and my family; as well as having time to focus on my creativity. Coming here for a two week art residency has been amazing.

I cannot underestimate the quiet beauty of time to think, unencumbered by the minutiae of my normal daily life. The spare parched landscape has been a true inspiration to me – walking along the white roads of Los Gázquez and watching the landscape change with the light. Back in Australia I am a coastal painter, so responding to the driest place in Spain has been a wonderful contrast.

Every morning I look out of the window at the valley below and feel truly grateful that I have had this opportunity to explore new places in my sketchbooks, paint en plein air and develop works on canvas in the beautiful studio here. That view through the studio window will remain with me always…

The evening presentations from the other creative residents and the conversations on wide ranging subject matter have been stimulating and encouraging. At the end of each day, the dinners and chat around the large table with Simon, Donna, and the whole entourage have been marvellous and I have looked forward to them daily.

So it ends with a huge sense of gratitude.
I leave here with wonderful memories and a lot of new work in my suitcase”.

 

Debbie Mackinnon

debbiemackinnon.com

 
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Joya: AiR / Mike Staniford / Australia
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“I came to Joya: AiR, to write and paint and specifically to see if I could bring a fluidity to both disciplines.

 

In the case of my landscape paintings, to leave behind the physicality of my surroundings and instill a sense of deconstruction in my work. To develop a series of paintings, made with bold gestural strokes , influenced with colour drawn largely from a sense of emotion than pictorial reality.

 

The landscape of Andalusia and the Sierra María, is both seductive and challenging and forced me to look and look again. The studio at the art residency was like a magnet that drew me back, once I had completed plein air sketches and working roughs. A perfect environment to work large or small, rethink and re-assess and to rub shoulders with other like-minded creatives. I produced an enormous body of work in my time here and opened up my thinking. But more importantly, I felt a huge sense of achievement.

 

Early mornings were spent sat outside, waiting for the dawn. A perfect time to think about the fourth draft of my fictional narrative. Once again, the surroundings enabled me to think with an uncluttered mind. To meditate on my main character and focus on her journey through my story. To write with a fresh conviction.

 

Simon and Donna Beckmann provide an incredible escape. Leave artists free to explore and discover but are there for support when needed. Dinner together with them every evening was the final punctuation of the day. A colourful, lively discourse and always with delicious food. I will be coming back.”

 

MIKE STANIFORD

Artist and Writer with storytelling at the heart of both. 

 
Joya: AiR / Stephen Bennett / UAL art for the environment award winner
 
Bennett.jpg
 

Nine Quadrats @ Joya

“My residency at Joya: arte + ecología has opened my practice to routes and pathways I didn’t know existed. This was the case even from the application process, where I was successful in securing the residency through the University of the Arts London Environment International Artist Residency Programme. I was already being inspired by reading about Joya’s important mission, their approach to resource sustainability, and the artistic research that Simon Beckmann had done into the ‘ephemeral water systems’ (Sistemas Efímeros). Joya seemed the perfect setting to experiment with land and environmental art, which I researched and blogged about ahead of the trip; I wanted to somehow link this to mapping the terrain, which I also investigated prior to and during the residency.

 
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Whilst I prepared a good deal before the residency, in reality no one can really be ready for the sights, smells and sounds of Joya. The location is set amongst contouring almond groves, surrounded by pine-clad mountains, with an ever-changing light, which changes from silvery through to deep amber-pink. Despite the beautiful studio with stunning view, I couldn’t wait to hike the nearest mountain, and ascended the nearby Sierra Larga. The summit is covered in sculptural limestone paving. Standing at the top, taking in the panoramic view, I recalled some of the land and map research I had done ahead of the visit. I decided to try and ‘capture’ the topography and biology using an interpretation of the quadrat sampling technique (see pictures).

 
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Upon descending to the studio, surrounded by other artists creatively exploring the landscape in other ways, I constructed a second square, this time on the map. Starting with the location of the quadrat I had just constructed, I identified eight other corners or midpoints of the square. Over the next ten days I visited each of these and assembled a location-specific quadrat, made only of the resources in the location environment – stones usually, but also sticks and the bare earth. Other photos are included in this blog, and a full narration of the piece is provided here.

 
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Without the residency at Joya, it is unlikely that I would have taken this step into an unfamiliar territory and explored making temporary, sustainable art deep in a fragile landscape. The location, the presence of a curated group of diverse and fascinating artists, the critical guidance of Simon Beckmann (and the insanely good food provided!), all enable a fertile and productive experience. This setting has allowed me to take some important steps forward in my artistic practice, and I will never forget the opportunity Joya has provided”.

 
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Joya: AiR / Kathrine Geoghegan / Ireland
 
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“When I arrived at Joya: AiR in the remote and beautiful Parque Natural Sierra Maria-Los Velez, I was struck by the landscape: white earth, pine-covered mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, the zig-zag patterns of almond plantations. The house is nestled in a dip between mountain ranges in a stunningly beautiful position.

I was warmly greeted by Simon and Donna and made to feel at home at once.

In my practice, I use various materials, including acrylic spray paint, and because of this I was accommodated with an excellent studio by myself, which I very much appreciated.

The opportunity to immerse myself in the landscape, explore the walking trails, study the plants, think, experiment and make work was invaluable. The Sierra is experienced through all the senses. The mountains are fragrant with aromatic plants.

In my work, I describe the forms and colours of native plants in order to convey a message, or an emotion. I’m not that kind of a botanical artist that works to a strict scientific discipline- my aim is to capture the essence of these plants in their natural habitat. My current work concerns itself with the crash in the bee population. Bees are the most important pollinator of crops and native plant species, three-quarters of our wild plants rely on insects for pollination and bees are most important. The paintings feature the wild plants so important for these creatures.

While at Joya: AiR, I have been exploring the plants on the Sierra and have discovered an abundance of wild herbs and flowers that are important for bees. I have made paintings and prints describing these plants. Through the beauty of their form, I wish to convey a message about bee conservation.

I would like to thank Simon and Donna and their children Solomon and Sesame for a wonderful experience and for the unique opportunity for creative endeavour, and for friendship and guidance. Thank you also for opening my eyes to the issues of water conservation. I will go home with more awareness and respect for this valuable resource that we Irish tend to take for granted.  Thank you also for the wonderful shared mealtimes- Donna you are such an amazing cook!  Thanks to Rachel and Mark who were always helpful and supportive.

Finally, thanks for the friendship and kindness of my fellow artists, Emily, Steve, Debbie, Mike, Orly and Yiwen – an eclectic, interesting wonderful bunch of people”.

Kathrine Geoghegan

 
Joya: AiR / poet / Emily McGiffin / Canada
 
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“My poetry and scholarly work is concerned with the nexus of landscape, society, and politics. Working in the field of postcolonial ecopoetics, my work examines human relationships with the natural environment and how these are affected by the global political economy, both historically and in the present. I am particularly concerned with decolonization and environmental justice and the ways in which environmental literature, as an activist practice, can help to examine and dismantle oppressive political systems and the environmental degradation that results.

I travelled to Joya: AiR to begin a new poetry manuscript after an inspiring research trip to the UK. My new work is a book-length poem that delves into events and experiences of British colonialism in Canada and South Africa in the early nineteenth century. I was particularly interested in coming to Joya: AiR to undertake a period of focused experimentation in a foreign, rural environment. Ordinary prosaic or lyric language is inadequate for expressing the extent of alienation and difficulties experienced by early colonists and the lasting violence and dispossession wrought on the indigenous populations they encountered. My language experiments over the past several weeks have taken me far outside of my ordinary poetic practice and I am inspired and excited by the results. I leave here with a skeleton of a manuscript, many completed poems and a direction for the work ahead.

Thanks to Joya: AiR for an excellent sojourn and to the amazing new network of friends I made during my stay”.

 

Emily McGiffin

 

http://amzn.to/2yQ67Oc

https://www.brickbooks.ca/books/between-dusk-and-night/

 

 
Joya: AiR / Michal Raz / Israel
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“My works synthesise painting, printing, video and digital collage and as such they may be envisaged as a mirror reflecting of conceptual, theoretical, and applied arts. My current research is about occult, mystical and spiritual practices and philosophies and the manifestation of these ideas in contemporary visual and performative art, as well as their relation to the technological era and digital aesthetic.

Joya: AiR was the perfect setting to go deeper into my research, with the energy of the beautiful surroundings, the inspirational presence of the Beckmanns , and being far from all that is familiar”.

Michal Raz

www.michal-raz.com

 
Joya: AiR / Gabriela Giroletti / Brazil
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“After spending a fruitful summer in my London studio I came to Joya: AiR looking for a few quiet days of reflection. I wanted to think and write about the work done prior to the residency and also collect some visual information for new work on my return.

I managed to do all that and had a great time. Thank you Donna, Simon, Soli, Sessi, Mark, Nele, Max and Fufu. You are all amazing and made me feel so welcome. I admire this step you took and the life you lead now, it gave me food for thought. I hope to be back one day for a longer period”.

 

Gabriela Giroletti

 
Joya: AiR / Elisa Carutti / Italy
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“I spent my time at Joya: AiR mainly reflecting and wondering about my art practice. I came here with the intention of focusing on my research without the pressure of coming up with a finished product but by reading, organizing ideas, and thinking about the most relevant topics in my work. In this sense, the environment that Joya offers is absolutely unique and adept to my needs: the silence present in the desert landscape somehow is reflected in my own mind and allowed me to find the perfect environment to work without useless distractions.

Donna and Simon and their family are warm and very welcoming so that I’m already planning the next visit! “

 

Elisa Carutti

 

www.elisacarutti.com

 
Joya: AiR / Simon Linington / UK
Linington.jpg
 

“I came to Joya: AiR with the intention of using the surrounding environment to make site specific art work. I researched the landscape before getting here and had maybe 5 or 6 ideas that I planned to realise. Whilst here I managed just a couple of them successfully, and the others either I couldn’t resolve satisfactorily or decided against for various reasons.

That said, I found being in the landscape and the Joya residence, surrounded by the so many wonderful characters that populated my stay here, new ideas came easily and I was able to ask others to help me complete them. I leave here after a very productive two weeks.

It’s a bit of cliché of course that ‘people make a place’, but I feel extremely fortunate to have spent my time here with such wonderful personalities. I would like to take this opportunity to say a thank you to each of them.

Looking at this blog I’ve read time and again people expressing their fondness and gratitude to Simon and Donna, Soli and Sessi. I have to say all of the praise is deserved. They are fabulous hosts and a lovely family – an inspiration for sure!

Faye, thank you for showing me your beautiful drawings and explaining your very thoughtful project. I look forward to seeing it at the stage of presentation in the future.

Gwenda, whenever I have a boring moment I will return to thinking of your Death on Holiday project and it will certainly bring a smile to my face. You are absolutely hilarious!

Andree, thank you for the beautiful photographs you took of my performances. I have a feeling there is a very successful career ahead of you.

Dipika, your talk was fantastic and your seemingly endless enthusiasm for those things that you feel passionately about is both entertaining and inspiring.

Nele, I’m so pleased you love Techno. Those chats we had about parties were a lot of fun and transported me to a very different time in my life.

Mark, I wish you the best of luck with your future travels and all the time you put into good causes helping those that live in less fortunate circumstances. The world needs more people with your selflessness and kindness.

And finally Kyotee. Thank you for being you and for being in the same place at the same time.

Perhaps all that’s left to say is that I have had a wonderful time here and plan to come back and I’m excited about that idea. Perhaps that is the highest praise I can offer”.

Simon Linington