Thursday, February 3, 2011

ArtTraveler photographs Andalusian artistic treasures in Moorish ruins

"...we change in many respects, we are not what we once were, we shall not remain what we are now." Vincent van Gogh, 31 Oct. 1876 in a letter to brother Theo.

Vincent also called painters "creators with feelings."

These are common denominators, regardless of your medium or discipline.

I experienced allot of profound changes during 2005 - 2006 in Andalusia, in the mountains, plunging into poverty for nearly two years.

For 16 months, I lived in a near ruin of an ancient Moorish village of Corumbela in a very small casita next to what was once the Mosque, now the village's Catholic church.

I imagined I lived in the old Imam's house, leaky roofs and all, spartan but magic with its 1 metre thick walls.

I discovered acrylic painting in 2005 and started taking sculpture classes from Moira Schepel, a  Dutch sculptor living outside Competa, about 8 kms from Corumbela.

I probed deeply into my Self for nourishment through art, even though most of the time I likely had little clue what I was doing, except with photography.

The Moors occupied many parts of Spain since 711 (first in Seville) until finally in Granada, the Moors surrendered to the Reconquista in 1492. Think Ferdinand and Isabella and that fine colonialist Christopher Columbus.

I walked allot into the deep valleys below Corumbela, a village of 300 souls, on twisting dirt roads and tiny weaving paths, sometimes to forage for avocados, fruit, vegetables.

On one of these walks I discovered ruins of a Moorish watch tower. This was the first line of defense for Moorish Corumbela and other villages. Corumbela fell to the Reconquista in 1487.

Inside the old guard post that must have risen 20 metres, a whole world of textures, lines, shadows, earth palettes and visages appeared. I felt the strong presence of ghosts of men who fought and died here.

Everywhere I looked, found art.

As I have opined, art is a state of mind.

How we express it, extend our feelings is more than a common denominator, it is the essence of our inviduality and our own style.

All above images by Stefan van Drake.
Rock on and practice peace and love.

See ArtTraveler videos on YouTube and follow the Via de la Plata, pilgramage of the Way of St. John from Seville to Santiago de Compostela (1,000 kms)  through a rich gallery of photos and text (in Dutch) by Dutch walkers Rob and Joost.

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM).

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