Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Mojácar Cutre

I took quite a few pictures, but my hands must have been shaking... or maybe the camera just flat refused to record what it was seeing. At any rate, here's the best one:

The event was the latest exhibition at the Mojácar Art Gallery (Museum... almost) at the Fuente. Mojácar was arguably discovered, at its weakest moment, when less than 600 people lived here, by a small group of 'intelectuales' who arrived here in the mid-fifties. These included well-known artists like Cantón Checa, Jesús de Perceval and others. They christened both the 'Indalo' (the local hombrecillo mojaquero totem) and themselves as 'Los Indalianos'. Partly through their efforts and influence, together with Mojácar's striking light and appearance, other artists found their way here, and the town became a Bohemian destination during the sixties.
Paul Becket, Fritz Mooney, Matts Hojer, Marisol González, local artist Clemente Flores, Mojácar artist Nicolás Carillo Murcia, Juan Guirado, Manolo Coronado, Luz Marqués, Michael Sucker who painted the church fresco, Francisco Reyes, Win Wells, sculptor Charles Salerno and a hundred others I've missed all contributed to the notoriety of Mojácar.
But politics and art don't mix. You can't make a buck off of culture, it seems. One mayor got a grant to build an art gallery, while another allowed exhibitions to be held there - under the authority of Leslie, the only foreign worker out of the 160 municipal staff (Mojácar these days is about 40% local and 60% out-of-towner - a mixture of Spaniards, Britons and a sprinkling of East Europeans, West Europeans, some South Americans and a few others). The gallery was closed down by the current incumbent, who built a large what-was-going-to-be art museum at the Fuente but is now a mixture of Spanish library and exhibition hall. This ran for a while with art exhibitions, proving to be very popular with the foreign settlers here, but has now changed to something else.
The show tonight, running until February 29th, was well attended by the local people, including the Partido Popular hierarchy, but I was the only forastero there. You see, instead of art, Raquel the young Councillor for Culture had plumped on a show of carnival costumes together with photographs of previous celebrants in all their finery sellotaped to the walls.
Now, Mojácar is not noted for its carnavales. Here, the children dress up in matching outfits and are fêted in the Artisan Centre. That is pretty much all there is. A few local adults giggling and shivering in the cold wander around the fuente area for a day or two. The local celebrants don't seem to know the customs very well - after all, Carnival has only been going since Franco died - and the dates are sometimes a bit off. The costumes are often unmasked and the saturnalia aspect is rather muted. We have Cadiz and Águilas for those who really want to party...
So, a month without art may not be a particular loss - but it is a sign of what Mojácar is becoming.

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