Thursday, April 05, 2018

More on The Indalo

The Indalo is a figure, sometimes known in Mojácar as 'el tótem': a little man with a rainbow over his head, or an arch, or a curved stick. A god. Maybe it's a woman (goddesses are protective,  fecund, and have open legs). La Indala. One puts the effigy on the wall of the house to bring luck and protection. One puts a gold Indalo on a chain round the neck, again for luck - and also because it is a beautiful, classic symbol.
All good stuff.
The Indalo was named by the Indalianos, a group of Almerian artists painting and boozing in Mojácar in the early 'sixties. The little figure needed a name (it was called 'el hombrecillo mojaquero' until then). The town had many of them, and the old forge in the Cuesta de la Fuente used to knock them out and consequently enjoyed a reasonably brisk trade.
By the 'seventies, Mojácar was famous internationally, and  the Indalo and Mojácar were both recognised and known in London and Paris when nobody had ever heard of Almería.
Then, in 1988, a meeting was held in Almería at the diputación (the county council). The PSOE politician Tomás Azorín told the mayor of Mojácar that the totem would, from then on forwards, become the emblem  for the entire province. A tourist thing. Since that edict, we see the Indalo in Almería, in Vera, in El Ejido and in Adra. We see it on trucks and in the tourist guides. The classic version, simple and instantly recognisable. From that time, Almería finally had its own identity.
Since that meeting in 1988, several changes occurred. Mojácar lost its Indalo and its leadership (it is now well behind Vera, Roquetas, Almerimar, El Toyo and Aguadulce in importance); a rival and spurious claim for the Indalo came from Vélez Blanco (the Cueva de los Letreros has a number of prehistoric stick-men, including one that looks somewhat like an Indalo, but was never revered or identified - or indeed named) and lastly, Mojácar was obliged to create, with the help of Manitas, a French jeweller who had a shop in the village, a new version of the totem: a drunken Indalo, which is now 'plastered' all over the resort. 
The 'Golden Indalo' meanwhile, created in the late eighties by Mojácar's tourist councillor, was given to 'high-flyers' in Madrid at the FITUR, the international tourist fair. The first year it was presented to singer Miguel Ríos (who often visits Mojácar) and Pedro Piqueras the television personality - who probably visited once...  Later it was given to politicians, Belgian cyclists, scallywags and other notables. Once, it was even given to a British resident - Bob Jones - after a large and dedicated Facebook campaign. Bob, a photographer, would send his pictures to the weather channel who often published them. Now, this singular honour has declined in importance too, with last year's Indalos de Oro given to the children of Jacinto Alarcón, who died a few years ago (no one did more); and this year, given by the tourist board... to itself. One awaits next year's effort with trepidation.
The Indalo, despite the manipulations of politicians, publicists and shop-keepers, it the symbol of Mojácar. Wear yours with pride!

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