Los Gázquez is home to Joya: arte + ecología, a residency for artist, writers, researchers and creatives.
Joya: arte + ecología is a non-profit arts-led field research centre in rural Andalucía, Spain. Our research is manifested through a residency programme for artists, writers and freethinkers, as well as cross-disciplinary collaborations with ecologists and environmental activists. Our own rigorous initiative is to live off-grid and foster deep understanding of the alpine desert, whose transformation serves as an epithet to effects of climate change worldwide. We are a cultural destination in the heart of rural Spain, living at 1000m above sea level in the Parque Natural Sierra María – Los Vélez. This is a place of outstanding natural beauty and remains so despite the environmental challenges facing peoples’ way of life. Climate change, bringing increased aridity and violent weather patterns, combined with outmoded farming techniques causing the loss of soil quality, stand in stark contrast to the co-evolutive and sustainable subsistence farming of just forty years ago.
Joya: arte + ecología is developing a transferable and combined strategy of research driven innovation, restoration and conservation of land. We utilise contemporary art and thinking as a means to express, interpret and disseminate the ideas we are generating. We have created an environment where artists are able to explore the ‘non-tangible asset’ that is life in all its diversity, life that has the inviolable right to exist as anything other than for the material gain of mankind. Contemporary art expresses the nuance attributed to a deep understanding of a sense of place, and it provides the insight into nature that the majority of us find convenient to ignore. Over the last ten years we have had in excess of four hundred and fifty artists both from within Europe and as far afield as Australia, Japan, Canada and South America.