For years I have walked past this man’s window and peered in without trying to be obvious. Even though I reckoned that if he didn’t want people looking in he would close the window (or at least the curtains) but I still didn’t want to be caught out. I mean, most people enjoy peering into open windows and getting a “slice of life” moment from someone else’s life. But this man’s living room is packed full of his artwork, including paintings and sculptures. Most arresting is the massive statue of Jesus in one corner (for awhile it was a Virgin Mary) that dominates the room, and it’s a curious sight to see him casually sitting in his armchair watching TV while passersby stop to have a look.
Anyhow, while I was out walking around with my memories the other day I passed by his house and saw him standing in front of the open window having a cigarette, and for some reason I decided it was time to say hello. And I’m so glad I did! What a lovely man. José Pérez Conde comes from Alosno, a small village in Huelva, and is a renowned painter and sculptor (until then I had no idea he actually MADE the giant virgin and christ figures). We had a nice chat and he told me a bit about himself and his work and, when he found out I was from Canada, he switched to English, taking me totally by surprise. And so now I know a new neighbour and it feels good to be able to greet José now when I walk past.
I first met Alexandra del Bene in March 2011 (wow, so long ago!) while out on a walk when I spotted her painting the shutters of a bar and I stopped to talk to her. Since then she has not only become THE urban artist in demand by local bars, shops and restaurants who don’t want their shutters tagged and defaced by graffiti bandits, she has become a successful artist with exhibits here and abroad, as well as becoming a published author with her book 6 Años Pintando Sevilla. And since that fateful day she has also become my friend! 🙂
So the other day, just like the first time we met, I was walking past a bar and saw her hard at work. But this time inside. I had seen some previews of her latest challenge on Instagram, but omg, in person it was just stunning. And it’s not even finished yet. Alexandra was hired to paint a fresco ceiling in the abacería section of El Rinconcillo, originally founded in 1670 (in the same family since 1870). So I went inside for a chat and helped with a couple of things (so now I can officially say I assisted in this amazing work 😉 ). The bar reopens next Friday, August 23rd, and I’m going to be there.
As part of the campaign to promote glass recycling in Andalucía, Las Ecomeninas have arrived in Sevilla. A collaboration between the Andalusian regional government and Ecovidro, a non-profit organization responsible for the recycling of glass packaging waste in Spain, the Ecomeninas Andalucía Gallery exhibition will travel to all the Andalusian capitals from June to November 2019. Dates in Sevilla are June 5 – 19th.
The exhibition consists of 20 “blank canvas” sculptures that were created by artist Antonio Azzato, based on the famous painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. These were then decorated by such well-known personalities as designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, soccer player Joaquín, clothing designers Vicky Martín Berrocal and Victorio & Lucchino, dancer Rafael Amargo, chef Ángel León and singers Nuria Fergó and Rosa López, among others.
On the Ecomeninas website you’ll find an interactive version of this map, to help you locate all of the sculptures. The website also offers an audioguide telling you the story behind each of the scuptures, and if you visit the website gallery (where I got the images above) you can hover over each ecomenina so see both front and back.
I love stuff like this – remember THE RATS? – so I guess that’s my Sunday walk sorted! 🙂