“My experience at Joya: AiR was a pivotal moment for my studio practice. Relocating my practice temporarily and allowing it to harmonise with the poetic landscapes of the Sierra Maria-Los Vélez enabled me to to refocus, refuel and reflect on my practice, and presented me with a kaleidoscope of information, experiences and material to delve into my concerns. Donna and Simon have thoughtfully and sensitively crafted an intimate space that nurtures creative exploration, where you can unfold your practice with no other concern.
I investigated the phenomenon of the “first dawn” that arises prior to the dawn prayer in Islam, Fajr. The “first dawn”, or the “false dawn”, occurs as a transient light appears on the Eastern horizon before it is followed by darkness. Fajr, however, begins from the onset of the “second dawn”, or “true dawn”, which is not followed by darkness, rather the light of the Sun increases. This event can be visualised by a Quranic verse that I came across in my research, “And by the dawn when it breathes” (Qur’an, at-Takwir, 81:18).
As well as taking photographs at Fajr, I made installations in my studio using clay that I collected from my walks through the dried up ravines and created small-scale interventions in the landscape. I also made installations using limestone dust from the seabed 100 metres below ground, that I collected from an excavation site of a well. The excavation was part of a project at Joya: AiR that had begun during my stay to create an underground water resource and to restore the local agricultural land, once irrigated by water management systems created by the Moors in Andalucía.
Joya: AiR instilled in my practice a sense of clarity and the tools to interrogate my concerns further, and instilled in myself a heightened appreciation for sustainable living, as the experience at Joya carries a reminder of the human impact on earth and our responsibility to repair and reconstruct it in an environmentally-friendly way.
Thank you Donna and Simon for a truly unique and humbling experience, and for making a studio of dreams! I’m excited for Joya’s future and I look forward to following how it evolves”.
Anusheh Zia http://anushehzia.com/work/