Joya: AiR / Benjamin Robinson / Australia
Benjamin Robinson

Benjamin Robinson


“Joya: AiR has provided a platform for me to experiment with my photographic practice in a truly refreshing environment. As I am currently based in Sydney, I applied for a two-week residency back in February as I also intended to spend time travelling throughout Spain beforehand. After jumping between the major cities for the best part of a month, I could sense that I was in for a fascinating residency by the breathtaking mountain ranges which were visible along the bus ride from Granada. I was greeted by Simon at Vélez Rubio and felt instantly welcome into the Joya: AiR community. The living spaces of the house allowed for the perfect platform from which creativity and experimentation could develop. The sense of cleanliness, comfort and modern sustainable design has played a major part in my creative thinking and freedom throughout my stay. 

Each day I explored new regions within the seemingly boundless surroundings of the property. At first I climbed up rigorous formations of rock and clay to reach the peak of the highest (immediately) surrounding mountain. The vista of the Sierra de María-Los Vélez Natural Park was so magnificent that I chose not to photograph it; I felt I had to consider more about this natural environment before devising a way to document it. The following few days saw me explore the nearby barranco, a naturally formed ravine which winds deep into the rugged forestation. I found inspiration from the endless sense of freeformity, and the timeless array of fossils scattered along the dry clay surface. Walking through barranco each day provided me with a fresh headspace which I could bring back into the studio at the house. I have been experimenting with watercolour ink painting, a process which has not previously been part of my practice. Joya: AiR has offered a platform for me to explore new modes of creation inspired by the dense, purely natural environment that surrounds the property. The landscape has offered a creative challenge in the sense that every area you visit is not exactly that of a ‘post-card’ picture. However, I have felt as though my creative process has been revitalized by the ability to experiment with new processes in response to my personal meditation of the vast natural surroundings. I look forward to returning to this incredible place in the future in the hope that I can one day I experience this refreshing state of mind once again”. 

Benjamin Robinson

Joya: AiR / Mark Rammers / Holland

“One day while traveling through Spain I took a wrong exit and ended up on a polígono industrial, an industrial zone. I was surprised by the beautiful shapes and colours hidden in this seemingly ordinary place. This was the starting point of my abstract photography project ‘Extra Ordinary’.

After a number of publications and exhibitions I started looking for a more powerful narrative in my work. Following a necessary break from photography, I now focus on visiting places that have been designed to drive the social-economic and industrial growth of a region and document the (often heavy and destructive) impact they have on the environment. Besides this I document my travels through the different countries I visit, often looking at common places and uncommon situations, inspired by photographers like Stephen Shore and William Eggleston and the ‘New Topographics’ movement.

I came to Joya: AiR to think about the direction of my current and future projects, play around with other creative ideas and at the same time take a break from city life. It’s been an incredibly inspiring week in a stunning place made possible by great people.

Instagram: @markrammers

Joya: AiR / Tere Chad / Chile

“Two years ago, I was having my first solo exhibition. I was showcasing my handcrafted jewellery collection ‘Fusion – Haka Piri’ at Aukara Gallery in Easter Island. In that trip, I had the opportunity to see Toki, a music and arts school that attempts to protect their heritage and the environment. The architect from this school is Michael Reynolds, the ‘Garbage Warrior’, known for his Earthship constructions and promoting sustainability. I remember sharing lunch from a pot with volunteers from all over the world that where helping to construct this school. Who could possibly imagine that you could have such inspiring discussions about sustainability in the most isolated island of the world?

            In that trip, I also had the chance to meet Cristián Arévalo Pakarati, Co-Director of EISP (Easter Island Statue Project). Cristián took me around the Island explaining me each archaeological remain and how their civilisation had collapsed through wasting all natural resources. Thus, there is an abyss between reading a report warning us from possible Climate Change consequences than actually experiencing the desolation of a place that was destroyed by humans. You suddenly realise, that is not a ‘Green Alarmist Fairy Tale’ the fact that we’re probably the only species able of extinguishing everything.

            That trip was quite enlightening and changed the way I was reflecting onwards my practice. I started questioning myself how could I as an artist invite people to re-think the way we consume and relate to the environment. How can we find a balance among reassessing our haptic (tactile) sensitivity and incorporating new technologies? How do we face the Anthropocene? Maybe, part of the solution, is as simple as going back to the basics and reconnecting to the earth.

            Later on, I moved to London, that must be one of the most creatives cities on the one hand, but with space and weather limitations to work outdoors on the other hand. Therefore, applied for the residency in Joya: AiR, Andalucía. I wrote an email to Simon vaguely explaining my idea, and asked him to collect glass bottles. The first time I went in June with classmates from the MA Arts and Science from Central Saint Martins. I began just with a couple of sketches and the image in my mind, but didn’t even knew how to make cob. Simon lent me his shovel and garden tools and taught how to make cob mixing clay, water and hay. With a bit of a back ache and hard work in collaboration with my sister and Olga Suchanova we managed to finish ‘The Re-Enlightment’ sculpture in 5 days.

            When leaving, I realised my sculpture might not resist the winter, hence decided to come back in October with Olga who had left pinhole cameras in the outside and inside to study how would the light play on the sculpture.

            In this second trip we were more focused, we needed to find the eco-friendliest solution to make the sculpture water proof. Again, Simon came up with the inspiration and suggested to cover it with beeswax diluted with linseed oil and pure turpentine. After a couple of days melting wax in bain-marie and without smartphone connection, I really had the space to reflect upon how do I want go to the next step on my practice.

            The Re-Enlightment, is not only an aesthetical piece, in opposition to conceptual individualistic arts, requires collaboration and the involvement of a community on its construction process. Is a monument that makes a recycling statement and invites to rethink if the rational ideas of the Enlightenment really brought us the wealth we wanted. It attempts to give the new light for our society, even seeming alive as the bottles make a nice eco when the wind blows. It is a piece that speaks about the urge of not forgetting our ability of sensing the world through our hands, and not forgetting that our planet is alive”.

Tere Chad





Tere Chad @ Joya: AiR

Tere Chad @ Joya: AiR


Chilean artist and creative inventor based in London. Strongly concerned about sustainability and promoting Latin American art abroad, she is a Co-Founder of the Latinos Creative Society at the University of the Arts London.

Through her mixed media practice, she exposes how touch screen technologies detach us from our tactile instincts and empowers the society of the spectacle. She attempts to invite us to try to find a healthy balance between reassessing haptic sensitivity and approaching new technologies.

She has had 5 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 15 collective shows in 4 different continents, highlighting: Hanga Roa – Easter Island, Santiago – Chile (Decorative Arts Museum, Fundación Cultural de Providencia), London – England (Tate Modern – Tate Exchange, Royal Society, Gordon Museum, Clifford Chance), Leeds – England (Central Library), Barcelona – Spain (Convent dels Àngels – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona), Bucharest – Romania, Massachusetts – United States, Chengdu – China (Sichuan University Art Museum).

Recently graduated from MA Art and Science at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London; has just commenced the MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art, London, where she pretends to research for sustainable solution in sculptural practices, and how this could positively impact on the public space.

Joya: AiR / Olga Suchanova / Slovakia

Olga Suchanova is Slovakian visual artist and researcher living in London. Olga’s background is in photography, art and science. Her practice is based on experimenting with different mediums such as traditional printmaking, alternative and analogue photography, digital art, photogrammetry and virtual reality.

Olga’s research base is to explore physics through photography. The aim to do  art residencies is to experiment with the photographic image, which is represented by human or inhuman and demonstrates how the invisible can become visible by the usage of the different elements.  Olga builds camera obscuras at the place, and leaving the pinhole cameras to be exposed for days, weeks and months, captures the night sky. Doing so, she is questioning what is the time and how our time is projected through our eyes and undercovers the meaning of the reality and illusion.

At Joya: AiR Olga collaborated with other artist Tere Chad and installed 12 pinhole cameras, made from the beer cans on Tere’s sculpture called “The Re-Englightment.”

Olga Suchanova

Olga Suchanova @ Joya: AiR

Olga Suchanova @ Joya: AiR

Olga Suchanova @ Joya: AiR

Olga Suchanova @ Joya: AiR

Olga Suchanova @ Joya: AiR

Olga Suchanova @ Joya: AiR

Joya: AiR / Rithika Pandey / India

“As a painter, I’ve been on a constant pursuit for newer languages of expression to embed into my work. I wanted to find a way to dig deeper inside of me and come out with something richer and more emotive.

At Joya: AiR, the solitude truly helped me develop my work, which was mixed with enlightening conversations at the dinner table. The vastness all around Los Gázquez (Joya: AiR) is awe inspiring and made contemplate over the smallness of our presence in front of something that is much bigger and profound than us.

I was interested in exploring the formless nature of thought and how it can metamorphosize itself into representative or nonrepresentative visual forms on paper. With a bunch of old photographs collected from a flea market, I was exploring the idea of a shared history where I wanted to incorporate a new symbolic language to depict an abstracted lyrical narrative between something that has been absolute (the photograph) and what is more conceptual than true (the drawing). Kind of like music.

Walking along the Barrancos, I took inspiration from the natural objects and the manners of their arrangement in space and their forms, as means of symbolic representations, which I later interpreted them in several ink drawings.

I feel extremely lucky to have found myself in a space like Joya: AiR and conceptualized so many ideas that I can work on for my future projects. Simon and Donna have really made this paradise happen with such mesmerising grace.

I love them immensely for being so kind and making me feel at home with magical stories from their adventures in India, the funny Bollywood music from Simon’s playlist and Donna’s absolutely gorgeous food”.

- Rithika Pandey

Joya: AiR / Sandra Gregson / Canada

“I came to Joya: AiR with the intention that the specificity of the place would influence my work and it did!

Prior to taking the bus to Vélez Rubio, I stayed in Granada for a few days and visited the Alhambra. Alhambra is a magnificent site and the architecture, tiles, and gardens became a catalyst for my work whilst at Joya: AiR.

The land at Joya: AiR is limestone and white clay; an earlier resident had left some clay gathered from the dry riverbed and I used it a wash and ground for many drawings into which I layered tile designs from Alhambra. Using observations of the land from walks, Alhambra tile designs and maps of the area, my work became an investigation of the relationship between thought and land. Pensamiento de la tierra.

The land around Joya: AiR seems embedded with thought and knowing, and it feels like it’s always been like this: the earth a dusty limestone and clumpy clay, silvery grey olive trees sparkling as if their leaves interlaced with tinsel, the land rising in tiers of almond trees, then yellow green pines, and higher, pines a deeper green as they become dense forest and then above that, rocky summits of the hills.

The buildings at Joya: AiR are part of this landscape and are restored farmhouse buildings. The roof slope of the buildings echoes the slope of the hills, the stone and cement structure feels of the land, and the rooms flow through levels and inside/ outside spaces. As well, the solar panels, the wind turbine, the recovery of water, all add to the experience of Joya: AiR being of the land.

I loved being in the studio in the early morning as the sun rose above the hill flooding the studio with light and warmth, shaping my day. Then later in the day, a walk with other residents, or a walk with Foufou, the resident goat. With Foufou the walks were slow as she stopped to graze, but lovely as I noticed the scents and textures of plants. The walks at Joya: AiR are varied: through dry river beds, up hills, down slopes, meandering along roads cut through valleys and around large stone outcrops.

The day at JOYA always ending with a delicious meal shared with the other residents. Maravilloso!”

Sandra Gregson

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Katrin Bohn / Germany
Katrin Bohn

Katrin Bohn


“Cortijada Los Gázquez (Joya: AiR) is so happily situated within this dramatic and scarce, hence rich landscape, it is impossible to escape its spell. The site has an incredible section with the house right in its middle.
It is a site surrounded by food. The endeavour of local farmers to sustain their lives from and with the coarse soil is (still) visible everywhere. Almonds, almonds, almonds, olives, oats, figs, herbs, herbs, herbs, pomegranates; my favourite being the way the land is terraced to allow for food growing and natural irrigation. There is so little water! Except when there is too much, which I witnessed during my one-week stay in a rare ‘gota fria’.

Donna and Simon have embedded their house, their art practice and their lives ever so carefully into this landscape making themselves part of it. Their attention to detail and beauty also signals the future: the rural and the urban are not enemies to fight but contrasts to be played on creatively.

Being an architect and academic on a writing retreat, the ecology of the house became my key inspiration: what would have happened if our everyday lives had developed just slightly different? My context for this is the city, the block of flats, individuals’ homes and their urban networks. But my context is also the way in which Los Gázquez has embraced the necessity to work with the sun, the wind, the water, the food and the waste. I have written three articles about a slightly different urban present – a common future? - one about a washing machine, one about a letter box and one about a potato pantry. I’ll take them back to Germany tomorrow.

Simon and Donna, good luck with reinstating the old ‘embalsa’; what a great project! I would love to come back and see that basin full of water and lush fruit-tree-lined food-growing terraces being naturally irrigated again”.

Katrin Bohn

Katrin Bohn is an architect, urban practitioner and academic. Her main research interests lie in sustainable architectural and urban design and centre around the concept of CPUL City (Continuous Productive Urban Landscape) which she developed within Bohn&Viljoen Architects since around the year 2000.

Much of Bohn's design research deals with the relationships between urban space and food-productive urban landscape and bridges the gaps between environmental design thinking, urban space production and sustainable lifestyles. Since the UK's first urban agriculture conference Urban Nature (2001), co-curated by Bohn, she has contributed widely to conferences, publications, exhibitions and design and policy debates, both nationally and abroad. As an internationally recognised urban agriculture expert, she has also been advising on national and international research, policy documents and pioneer projects. Her work has been quoted by the UN and UNESCO and has influenced urban planning in the UK, as well as worldwide.

Bohn studied architecture at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany (Diploma in Architecture), the University of East London (MSc in Architecture) and the École d'Architecture de Nantes, France (DAAD Scholarship). Since 1998, she runs a London-based architectural practice and environmental research consultancy with André Viljoen (Bohn&Viljoen Architects). Before this, she trained in architectural practices in Germany, Brazil, France and Britain, including work for Jourda & Perraudin (Lyon) and Stefan Schrodt Architekten (Berlin).

Joya: AiR / Jimena Centurión/ Argentina

“Joya:AiR es un tesoro dentro de Vélez Blanco. Un lugar donde se escucha el silencio y se descansa profundamente en sintonía con la respiración de la tierra. El tiempo se hace presente. El ahora es lo único que existe y a partir de ahí nace el espíritu creativo que impulsa a lo inesperado.

Entendí que cuando uno suelta todo tipo de apego, corporal y metal, no espera absolutamente nada, permitiendo que la vida suceda y aparezca en nosotros.

A veces cuesta ver y hasta creer lo mas simple que somos.

Estar en Joya me permitió una vez más, conectarme con mi ser y con mi presente, y reconocer que soy amor con el todo.

Cada ser, partícula y átomo que nos rodea siente nuestra presencia y lo que trasmitimos.

Si en cada instante pudiéramos recordar que somos un reflejo de nuestro entorno y éste un reflejo nuestro, y comprender que en realidad somos y queremos lo mismo, y que somos iguales, somos uno: somos amor.

Cuando logramos percibir ese amor en nosotros y en el otro, es cuando nos reconocemos (nos volvemos a conocer) y se genera un vínculo infinito, profundo y atemporal.


Inspirada en Van Gogh mi frase de cada día es:

‘no hay nada más verdaderamente artístico que amar, yo te amo’

‘there is nothing more truly artistic than to love, i love you’


Gracias Joya: AiR, Simon y Donna, por abrirme las puertas de su hogar y darme la oportunidad de conocerme más”. 

Jimena Centurión

Mi nombre es Jimena Centurión, tengo 30 años, soy argentina nacida en Buenos Aires. Vivi en Australia durante un año, y a partir de entonces viajé por Indonesia y España, hasta llegar a Joya: AiR, mi primera residencia de arte. 

Dibujo y pinto desde hace mucho tiempo y estudié Bellas Artes en Buenos Aires. Estudié también grabado y serigrafía. 

Hace tres años una fuerza se despertó en mí, y me llevó a estar presente en el hoy. 

A través de la respiración, el caminar, la danza, la escritura y el dibujo, entreno y desarrollo el estar presente. 

Utilizo bastante la acuarela y el acrílico, pintando lo que percibo delante de mí. En general mis trabajos son paisajes ya que es donde me encuentro presente, sin tiempo alguno, me encuentro a mí, respirando en paz. Observando una y otra vez la forma, la luz. Entendiendo y aprendiendo. 

Llevar mis sentidos cada vez más a distintos niveles y grados de conciencia, y entrenar el ojo, la mano y el corazón es mi entrenamiento de cada día. 

Me interesa y me apasiona seguir con esta línea de investigación a cada lugar que voy, rodeada de un nuevo entorno que me permita extender mi apertura de conciencia y percepción.

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Charlotte Price / England

“I came to Joya": AiR to experience an environment completely new to me and indeed arriving here was truly breathtaking. Cortijada Los Gázquez is surrounded by pine forested mountains and fields of almond trees. Wherever you walk your senses are immersed in a silence that is almost tangible and a heavy scent of aromatics growing wild at your feet.

I had not encountered a place like this and my initial ideas for the artwork I thought I would create wavered in a desire to explore the land and gather up pieces of and from the ground. I collected plants that were skeletal at the end of their life cycle, dried by the sun and wind. I found rocks with indentations of a prehistoric life. The limestone dusted everything and placed it in a semilunar world.

Collection of objects of natural history was already part of my art practice and I found it impossible not to create a still life of my new findings. The studio table became filled with traces of my experience in this landscape.

My work is normally sited in a rural landscape traversed with pathways through which I investigate a social history of human presence. Pathways of previously utilitarian purpose are represented in imagery of frail plant material collected from their edges. I use print techniques that allude to the sombre tones of a Victorian age of Natural History collection and its museology.

Walking in the landscape and a scrutiny of its geography and detail has been the substance of my practice.  Some inspirational reading has been:

Michael Landy            Nourishment A portfolio of 12 etchings

Richard Mabey           Weeds

Robert McFarlane         The Old Ways, The Wild Places

Edward Chell             The Garden of England, Bloom

Richard Long            Selected statements & interviews

Tom Trevor             Three Ecologies Lois Weinberger

Anna Pavord            Landskipping

Rebecca Solnit          Wanderlust

Christopher Tilley         A Phenomenology of Landscape

Nan Shepherd          The Living Mountain

Paul Farley & Michael Symmons Roberts       Edgelands

Numerous Field and Pocket Guides to Wild Flowers”

Charlotte Price

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Annabel Potterton / Ireland

“I am interested in the surroundings of wherever I am and how to achieve a sense of place and immediacy in my practice.  I worked on a bank of images, images collected whilst walking around Los Gázquez, to give a sense of the area, each painting being a moment in time during the residency.  Painting the images back in the studio allowed me to study the nuances of colour, the structures of the landscape and the surrounding ecology; at the same time making decisions on content, composition and colour.  When I am working I see every painting as an abstraction of colour and shape. 

It was a wonderful experience coming to Los Gázquez which allowed space to think and paint, to talk with and listen to the other artists, to enjoy the chat around the table and Donna’s amazing food, and to walk in the beautiful surroundings exploring the ecology of the area.  It is a very special place.  I arrived on my first day with trepidation as it was my first residency; I left feeling taller and braver.  Thank you to Donna and Simon for your amazing hospitality and kindness.”


Annabel Potterton


Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Nuala Gorman / Ireland

“At 15.55 on Saturday September 1st I stepped off the Alsa bus into 34 degrees sunshine. Vélez-Rubio was eerily quiet as the inhabitants enjoyed their daily siesta. At 15.56 the sound of a car broke the silence and I heard my name being called. I turned around and saw Simon.

20 or 30 minutes further travel through the countryside brought us to Joya: AiR. From the top of the hill, it looked like a mirage glistening in the sunlight. Next morning I woke up asking myself what am I doing here? I can’t ever recall having two weeks of uninterrupted time to create.

My current investigations are concerned with cultural memory, emigration and family roots. This residency with Joya: AiR gave me the opportunity to experience how an emigrant might feel having left their familiar surroundings, and what difficulties they might encounter when they first arrive in a different country.

During my stay in Joya: AiR I met 15 people from different parts of the world. Almost everyone knew where Ireland is, but not one person knew where my home County of Westmeath is. For me this put things in perspective.
Over the two weeks, language was a common, recurrent topic among the residents. Though we all communicated through English, we didn’t always understand each other, resulting in a lot of blank looks, and further explanations. I have never been more aware of the language differences between British English, Irish English, and Canadian English, all so similar but very different.

As the first week progressed, I became deeply immersed in developing my technique of working with Cyanotype Printmaking. The abundance of sunshine facilitated working in this media. By the end of the second week I wished I had more time.

I was surprised by how easily I had settled into life off-grid, adapting to 30 + degrees temperatures, a different diet, Spanish time for dinner at 21.00, integrating with different nationalities, adjusting to water shortage, living without access to technology, very little phone coverage, and no access to transport or shops. Life became minimalistic and uncomplicated. I responded to the environment and allowed nature to enter my work. I learned to live in harmony with the insects and respect the trojan work of the ants. During my daily walks past the almond trees and through pine forests I found a resonance with the Aleppo pine, which is non-native to the area. It too is an emigrant, which took root in Andalucía. For some it was welcome and for others it is not. The bark shavings, which fall away from the Aleppo pine trees, gradually found a place in my work as a motif for the emigrant.

At 9.30am, Saturday September the 15th I stepped out of the pouring rain onto the AlSA bus, feeling creatively reinvigorated and replenished.

Many thanks Donna and Simon for all your kindness”.

Nuala Gorman

Simon Beckmann
Joya: AiR / Beatriz Torrecillas Blanes / España

“Joya: AiR es un lugar en el que el tiempo está presente, las conversaciones trascendentales son habituales y la desconexión es real.

Normalmente viajamos miles de kilómetros buscando nuevas experiencias. Pero a veces no hace falta ir tan lejos. En Joya: AiR he encontrado gente auténtica de todo el mundo, tiempo y energía para experimentar en un proyecto personal y un entorno muy especial.

Gracias a Simon, a Donna y a toda la gente que he encontrado por aquí, por hacer que esta experiencia sea única”.

Beatriz Blanes

Joya: AiR / Anahita Akhavan / Iran

“When I first arrived at Cortijada Los Gázquez (Joya: AiR), I took a long deep breath, filled my lungs with the unique scent of the land- a fusion of lavender and rosemary. I inhaled, the almond trees, mountains and let the wind whisper in my ear. Immediately felt the narratives of the previous settlers in my head, their struggles with drought and water scarcity. During my days at the residency, I consciously allowed myself to immerse in the irrational quality of inspiration. I felt the urgency to create a direct and a primitive contact with the rough, arid yet serene landscape of Los Gázquez. I wanted to investigate how it feels to temporarily settle in this raw unfathomable territory.

I wanted to explore oil pastels on paper, something that I never used before in my practice. I was hoping that I could start a new body of work with an unfamiliar material as a response to my experience of being in a new territory. I chose oil pastels for the simplicity and immediacy in its pigmentation to articulate a new gaze toward my present time and space. While working with oil pastels I discovered an alternative aspect to my painting approach; this time I started to represent the landscape through simple shapes and colors. I became interested in the sharp vivid colors of oil pastels, psychedelic cadmium yellow on a cobalt blue ground could only depict the raw organic nature of Los Gázquez for me. 

What I gained at the residency was a different pathway of thinking in my practice. The people, architecture, and nature they all planted new seeds of contemplation in me. When I left the residency I felt content and blessed. I appreciate what Donna and Simon have created for artists and I am incredibly grateful for my experience at Joya: AiR”.

Anahita Akhavan

Joya: AiR / Chia-Yen Wang / Taiwan

Chia-Yen Wang was born in Taipei, Taiwan. She received her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London in London in 2016. Her works are mainly related to mixed media installation and imagery. With a background in business, visual communication, and lighting design, she likes to place her focus on the vague area among design, art for the general public, and fine art in a world of capitalism. While attempting to explore the visual sense of aesthetics which are loved by the general public, her works also examine the relationship between space and surrounding objects, as well as the language embedded into them. These designed and selected materials, along with the final products form a variety of visual symbols which in turn, represent the meaning and status hidden in the structure of our social, economic, and cultural realm. 

Currently, she is working on the objects that come from construction sites, and lighting projects related to power structures and authority. Her approach is both layered and expansive, with individual elements of the work emerging in an ambiguous manner. She is attempting to construct a microcosm while decoding the strategy and meaning of the visual symbols behind social spectacle in modern cities and urban spaces.

Joya: AiR / Gerardo Tirapegui Flores / Chile

"En el período en que fui residente de Joya: Air, pude reflexionar estéticamente sobre la práctica artística que he venido realizando, la cual se desenvuelve desde los nuevos medios, en torno a los contenidos de identidad cultural y territorio. En un tiempo y espacio que estuvo completamente en función de mi proceso creativo, —en oposición con la alienación propia del hombre de sus valores espirituales en las grandes ciudades, de la que soy parte— disfruté registrando y experimentando en los esculturales y calmos paisajes del parque natural Sierra de María-Los Vélez, que me permitieron vislumbrar potenciales líneas de trabajo.

Compartí experiencias con artistas de diferentes culturas, en donde surgieron diálogos en torno a la actividad creativa, sus diferencias disciplinares, las realidades sociales, políticas y económicas de cada uno, que sin duda aporta a las búsquedas autorales que realizó. Me sentí estimulado observando los procesos creativos individuales de los artistas, los que se fundían con los interiores y exteriores de una estancia de belleza patrimonial.

Estoy agradecido por haber sido parte de este distintivo proyecto de arte, producto de la pasión y dedicación de sus gestores Donna y Simon, quienes además de hacerse cargo sustentablemente del territorio en el que están, son unos excelentes anfitriones, presentes en todo momento a los requerimientos del artista.

Encontré en Joya: AiR, respuestas a preguntas que fueron contestadas en un ambiente de reflexión y producción, tanto en el interior como exterior del inmueble que nos residió, entre bosques, sierras, caminos, memoria, diálogos, reciprocidad. Y lo que es mejor, otras estimulantes cuestionantes surgieron”.

37°45'20.8"N 2°03'10.3”W

Gerardo Tirapegui Flores

Gerardo Tirapegui (Santiago, 1989) es egresado de Licenciatura en Turismo y Cultura de la Universidad de Valparaíso, Diplomado de Postítulo Producción Gráfica, Video y Fotografía de la Universidad de Chile y actualmente cursa el Magíster en Artes Mediales de la Universidad de Chile. Ha participado en instancias artísticas de exhibición, tanto colectiva como individualmente, y también interviniendo de forma instalativa el espacio público. Los intereses del artista se abocan a las relaciones entre individuo y territorio y sus intersticios. La forma de trabajar sus combinatorias, sonoras y visuales, son a través de la creación y programación de aplicaciones tecnológicas, la fractura de la imagen digital, la electrónica, el video, la utilización de microcontroladores y sensores para vincular el entorno físico con el digital. Aborda contenidos como la identidad y homogeneización cultural, la globalización, el consumismo y el territorio como contenedor de las anteriores.

Joya: AiR / writer / Bronwen Jones / UK

“The land on which Los Gázquez (Joya: AiR) sits captures the place for me. Its ashen-grey clay is impervious to rain so, when the thunderstorms come, water sluices off it, leaving imprints there like aqueous fossils. Between the rivulet echoes were my footprints. Many of them.

During my residency, I covered 223km of tracks and trails; first to escape, and then to explore. I drew satisfaction from creating those shoe-shaped marks and accepting that they would be smoothed invisible again.

When the sun comes it transforms the earth. Baking under its intensity, new marks emerge: fissures which imitate the pathways traversing the mountains.

Hours of running through this landscape have clarified my thoughts and crystallised my ideas. This land has become the foundation bolstering my existing work, and the fertile soil of fresh inspiration”.

Bronwen Jones


Bronwen Jones is writing her first novel, Murmurations, which is set in rural England and Spain in the present day. It follows the journey of two adult siblings in the year following their father’s suicide. The protagonists have a distant, fractious relationship, but are forced to co-operate when they encounter their father’s plan to draw them together and to uncover murky truths of the past. Since her residency at Joya: AiR, Bronwen has been developing a new piece of writing, Querencia, which is told in 14 episodes, each focusing on one of 14 characters over the period of a fortnight. It considers what happens when a place of supposed security and strength becomes defined instead by a lack or loss of its essential components. 

Joya: AiR / Roman Sheppard Dawson / UK

“The time to reflect and reconsider your practice is often overlooked or neglected in favour of production. While at Joya, the opportunity to slow down and pay attention to some of the natural anchors in your work cannot be underestimated. It has been a privilege to walk in the beautiful Sierra María-Los Vélez national park and to bond with a group of artists varying in creative disciplines. The type of thinking achieved here is unique and has made powerful ripples in my life.

As you allow yourself to commit to Joya’s temperament, you become aware of the detail and care that has been taken to create this experience. The subtlety of both Donna and Simon to be available and yet hidden from view allows you to safely commit to deep thinking and the ability to separate yourself from the daily routine that we are all seeking to forget.

The landscape and the people get under your skin in a way that is hard to do justice in words. It is something shared by those who have been in residence at Joya and I imagine every group who passes through has a different shade or hue that colours the landscape.

I look forward to bringing what I have discovered back into my continuing practice in London and hope to uncover elements of my practice I was not aware were going through a transformation.

Thank you”.

Roman Sheppard Dawson

Roman Sheppard Dawson is a moving image artist based in London and a Central Saint Martins graduate in fine art 4D. His work has evolved from moving image based sculptures into a practice exploring movement/gesture in the moving image and space.

Joya: AiR / Thibault Duchesne / France

“The doors of the 2000 Land Rover slammed.

All my senses needed to be readjusted as I stood in the sun - looking at that vast territory of silence.

Joya: AiR was built on an ancient farm, lost in the Sierra Maria-Los Vélez. Yet, whatever the reasons were to settle in such a hostile territory, generations had inhabited and cultivated this land. In these isolated places, inhabitants have a unique relationship with time and history, often protected from the destructive, as well as regenerative, flow of modernity.

Territories, territories, territories; I became obsessed with the idea. I was exploring the land, experiencing it in all its physicality; and allowing the flow of the mental afterimages develop within me.

I wanted the project that I was going to work on to be linked intimately to the environment in which it would be created. Almería is the only region in Western Europe considered as desert. In late August the whole landscape has been dried out under an unforgiving sun, and the presence of water is only revealed through the scars it has left in the land during the storms. The sun. Over a few days I laid papers, partially covering them with cardboard and stones. As an almost esoteric ritual, I removed shapes and stones carefully as the paper was being bleached.

I was interested in using one dimension to reveal a new one: the use of time in order to create space. Newly-opened territories emerged from the ghostly architectures that appeared on the surface. The paper returns to its primary organic nature, adopting the pigmentation of the landscape, inviting us to thread through a new space of rêverie.

As Emerson reminds us in his essay “Nature”, «In the tranquil landscape [...] man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature.»

Joya: AiR is that space and time”.

Thibault Duchesne

Joya: AiR / Art for the Environment Residency / University for the Arts London / recipient Bronwyn Seier

“I came to Joya: AiR through University of the Arts London’s Art for the Environment Residency program. I am an MA student at UAL currently writing my thesis, which looks at design activism, considering how fashion can protest against overconsumption in the digital age.

As a fashion designer and academic, I do not typically see myself as an artist or allow myself the uninterrupted space to create. Prior to departing for Spain, I at some point Googled, ‘what do you do at an art residency?’. But my unpreparedness and unconventional practice did not matter once I arrived. I spent my time reading, walking, and creating in a gentle balance. I did not give myself deadlines, or where I did, I did not meet them. But this didn’t matter; because I will continue to build on the pages I filled in my sketchbook long after the residency. 

 My work is often focused on the social and environmental impacts of the fashion system. It is a daunting, often contradictory, and continually exciting realm in which to work. Yet, being at Joya gave me a clearer picture of what it means to practice environmentalism in an all-encompassing way. From the power of the wind and sun to the precious nature of every drop of water that comes through the tap. Life seems to move a little slower, yet somehow the 2 weeks I spent there seem to have gone by in an instant”. 

Bronwyn Seier

Joya: AiR / Holly Campbell / UK

“I had applied for the Joya Air residency with the intention of retreating from the busyness of life to immerse myself in nature and allow time and space to begin personal writing projects. I had never been on an artist residency before, but Joya: AiR really called to me. It’s beautiful remote and natural location, the sustainably maintained centre and welcoming, minimalist rooms – I knew I had to spend time here clear my vessel, to recharge and to create.

Arriving at Joya: AiR, I was taken aback by the immensity of the surrounding landscape. Mountains and trees rolled for miles and for as far as the eye could see. The centre was beautifully decorated in artwork. Other artists were welcoming, and Donna and Simon had been so inviting that it felt like they had given me my own home in theirs.  

My creative intention whilst spending time at the residency was to write. I had allowed myself a few days with no pressure of making or doing anything, but to simply be in the space. I connected with the other artists, listened to the diversity of their backgrounds and disciplines and spent time walking the mountains around the centre.

I realised that my artistic background was quite unconventional compared to the other creatives I had met there. I had studied BA Social Care and Education Studies before graduating from MA Media, Communications and Critical Practice. The jump in discipline was inspired by a passion for social justice, feminism and equality. After gaining a deep sociological perspective of power differentials and oppression experienced by intersectional groups during my first degree, I was charged by a drive to take meaningful action. In a year between studying the degrees, I established, a blog and collective of women that used fashion as a platform for addressing feminist issues and empowering women. I went on to study to gain insight into how I could use contemporary media as a channel for positive social change.

Until this year, my life purpose and career motivation had mapped out in a linear fashion. Yet, since being caught up in the chaos of working life, I had felt stuck without knowing which direction to take next. I know that I have to create in a way that is underlined by my passion to affect positive change. I had intended on spending my time at Joya: AiR by using the medium of writing to do this - to allow myself time to write creatively and with intention. Specifically, writing to launch a new blog project that comments on contemporary media, popular culture and feminism. However, my time at the residency served an unexpected journey for me, and a bigger and deeper purpose. Joya: AiR held a space for me to retreat and to reflect on where I had been, where I am now and where I want to go - basic reflections that my busy life had distracted me from. Conversations with like minded creatives fuelled and inspired a whole new realm of paths and possibilities that I could take to achieve my goals.

Beyond providing a studio space for me to write about my passions, Joya: AiR served an invaluable purpose, through free time and a relaxing but creative environment, that allowed me to reach clarity on my work. I have returned home from my time at the centre feeling motivated, peaceful and excited for my next endeavour (which I am keeping close to my chest until I’m ready to share with the world!)”.

Holly Campbell