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