Joya / Monika Dutta

Joya: arte + ecología is pleased to announce that the winner of the award LUZ: light reactions is the artist Monika Dutta.

LUZ: light reactions is our second award which we launched  last spring. We invited submissions for multimedia work that evidences light dependent reactions upon the environment and we received a lot of very good submissions. Finally, our panel of selectors chose Monika Dutta’s proposal.

The artist, from East Riding of Yorkshire, will now take up a two week supported residency at the home of Joya: arte + ecología, Cortijada Los Gázquez. The dates will be announced soon.

‘I’ll use the light dependent process of cyanotype printing to map the presence of the sun throughout each day and to capture the interaction of its movement with the growth of particular plants.


A small number of micro-sites will be chosen within the 20 hectares associated with the residency. Each site will be visited at regular intervals throughout each day and an exposure will be made using prepared paper placed in a marked position. Every exposure will be for the same length of time and the paper will be in exactly the same position as previous exposures. The plants at each location will create a photogram image by casting a shadow across the paper, which after exposure is processed in water to create a monochrome image composed of white and varying tones of prussian blue.

By this method, the presence of the sun is evidenced in the blue on the paper. Mirroring the effect of light intensity on the process of photosynthesis and plant growth, cyanotype prints will vary in their blue intensity showing deeper hue in stronger sunlight. By creating exposures throughout the day, the movement of the sun is mapped across a series of prints, and by creating such series each day throughout the residency, changes in growth or diminution of individual plants will become apparent.

Historical context

In the nineteenth century Anna Atkins became the first female photographer by bringing the process then used for reproducing notes and diagrams in the form we refer to as blueprints, into the realm of photography when she created a limited series of cyanotype books that documented ferns and other plant life from her extensive seaweed collection.

Turning the Victorian fascination in collecting non-living specimens to observe and understand life forms, the proposed work responds to current concerns regarding ecological conservation and allows subtle relationships existing within an ecosystem to dictate the exact nature of resulting works.


I am keen to pursue the idea of utilising waste materials for the print support, so that various papers and cloth that may be available at the location can be treated with the photosensitive solution and used in exposure.

The number of micro-sites and the exact time interval between exposures will have to be determined in response to the whole site; the extent of daylight hours and the distance between chosen micro-sites; how quickly and easily I can move from one to another throughout the day.

Potential dissemination/presentation of the work

The print series can be viewed as single frames of a time-based work created outside of time-based media. Digitised and translated into a time-based medium the resulting animations could be presented as a multi-projection installation. I have an established collaborative practice with composer and sound artist Jake Harries who has expressed an interest in responding to such work should it be produced.

I would also be interested in the potential of disseminating the work in book form, as a handmade multiple using print copies on waste materials such as paper, card and cloth that may be available.’

Monika Dutta

LUZ: light reactions has been made possible by the generous support of St Jude’s. We would like to thank them for their assistance in making this award happen.

We would also like to express our gratitude for the interest and support given by all those who entered the award.

Should anyone be interested in supporting the Joya: arte + ecología award next time we would be grateful for a contribution towards the artists European travel expenses and in return, if you so wish, we will more than happily promote your sponsorship along with the award.

To find out more on Monika Dutta’s work please visit: