Joya: arte + ecología is a not for profit arts organisation based at Cortijada Los Gázquez, an ‘off-grid’ sustainable destination in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez in the north of the Provincia de Almería, Andalucía.
It was founded in 2009 by Simon and Donna Beckmann with the intention of making a strong cultural destination within a Spanish rural context. They believe that dynamic and sustainable creative activity is the backbone to regenerating land that has been slowly abandoned over the last fifty years.
Arid zones such as southern Spain have anthropogenically become increasingly vulnerable as a consequence of climate change and land usage. Joya: arte + ecología, as an arts led field research centre, aims to be an exemplar to sustainable land use, creativity and invention.
The Joya: AiR (residency) aims to facilitate, through production and collaboration, contemporary art and artists whose work manifests a discourse with the environment and sustainability. Joya: arte + ecología’s curatorial programme seeks to explain, through contemporary art, abstract concepts such as climate change and the degradation of the environment.
By engaging with the complexity of the rural situation in relation to the value of marginalised ecosystems Joya: arte + ecología aims to promote sustainable adaptation to land use and water resources in a time of rapid change.
Simultaneously Joya: arte + ecología aims to develop the idea of culture within the context of environmental change. To be the change we wish to see in the world and then raise awareness of the ability to live in balance with nature by being an example of sustainable practice.
Contemporary art and contemporary thinking creates and encourages cultural activity within this region, La Comarca de Los Vélez. From the middle of the twentieth century onwards there had been a gradual abandonment of land as locals left in search of new opportunities. Joya: arte + ecología celebrates the history and culture of Almería, bring attention to the potential of rural Spain and disseminating our activities to a global audience.
Joya: arte + ecología operates beyond conventional arts organisations through creative activities and engagement with other complementary disciplines. By particularly promoting the work of artists concerned with the environment and sustainability globally Joya: arte + ecología can particularly foster dialogue and exchange amongst communities facing the same challenges.
Simultaneously Joya: arte + ecología promotes collaboration with other institutions, organisations and individuals within Europe and further afield who share our aims.
Simon Beckmann: co-founder and director of Joya: arte + ecología