Joya: AiR / Sarah Thomas / UK
“I came to Joya: AiR at the beginning of a new phase in my life and in my creative practice. I am for the first time making artwork that is explicitly about myself and I wanted to use the opportunity of this residency in such a unique place to be both a contemplative and productive space to further explore this new autobiographical investigation.
When first hearing about Joya: AiR I was fascinated by its location in one of the sunniest regions in Europe and I wanted this to be an area of focus for my practice whilst here. I am interested in the idea of documenting and capturing the physical and psychological influence that such a place has had on me as a person and as an artist. I know that the sun and warmer climates can have a substantially positive impact upon my well being and subsequently my creative productivity.
Before I came to Joya: AIR I read a book by Linda Geddes called ‘Chasing the Sun’ which talks about how our biology is set up to work in partnership with the sun. From our sleep cycles to our immune systems and our mental health, sunlight is crucial for living a happy and fulfilling life. I find living in a light polluted world increasingly looking at my laptop screen either as part of my day to day life or art practice is having a negative impact. This recent default to use artificial aesthetics and digital methods to create artwork was something that I wanted to challenge whilst at the residency. Being at Joya: AiR has given me the space I needed to experience being creative in a physical place and to be in the moment, being here and working in the beautiful surroundings has greatly reduced my dependency on digital technology.
The landscape around Joya is breathtaking from the monumental hills to the colour of the soil to the wind blowing through the pines, it has made me want to slow down and truly observe everything around me. My two weeks at Joya was just what I needed, I have so many new ideas that have been formed here that I want to develop further. I have been able to play, see things in a new way and take risks with my work.
I am so grateful to Simon and Donna, the volunteers and all the artists for making Joya: AiR such a welcoming, inspiring and productive residency, it is truly a special place”.