Once again, the Hay Festival officially kicks off with the inauguration of the exhibitions that are part of its visual arts programme. The tour will begin in La Alhóndiga which hosts a retrospective of one of the most famous Spanish reporters, the photographer César Lucas. The exhibition Snapshots Imprinted on the National Retina shows some of the best-known images of a photojournalist who forged his career at dailies such as Pueblo and El País, of which he was a founding member. He later worked for magazines of Grupo Z. Che Guevara’s visit to Madrid from 1959 or the mythical cover of Interviú that marked the passage of the girl Marisol to the actress Pepa Flores are some of the photographs that remain on the national consciousness of several generations of Spaniards.
The tour then moves on to Esteban Vicente Museum to open the exhibition Hágase en mi, según tu palabra by the Spanish multimedia artist Ana de Alvear, who specialized in large-format works. It is an installation that occupies the presbytery and the nave of the chapel inspired by the biblical passage of the Annunciation. A Virgin who shelters herself at the announcement of the Archangel Saint Gabriel and a choir of contemporary angels make up the installation. Ana de Alvear is also an exhibition curator and founder of the VIVA video art project that brings together artists of various nationalities and who has travelled the world from Madrid to Shanghai.
The third stop is at the church of San Juan de los Caballeros where the exhibition The Living Sea presents the images of committed conservationist Hussain Aga Khan. Underwater photographs inspire dialogue about the fragility and beauty of life in the oceans and the danger that climate change poses to species. Specializing in photographing nature, from the Amazon rain forest of Brazil to the oceans of the entire planet, Hussain Aga Khan has exhibited in the US, France, Switzerland, Kenya and his images have appeared on National Geographic blogs. An important part of his activity is channelled through projects and foundations whose mission is to improve the management of natural resources. In 2004, he founded Focused on Nature, which channels funds for the protection of endangered species.
The tour concludes at the Huerta de Félix Ortiz where the Colombian artist Alberto Baraya shows his greenhouse of flowers and plants made of cloth and plastic: Tropical “Mutisian” Greenhouse. Baraya’s exhibition explores natural conservation and a reflection on the relationship between fiction and reality. His participation in the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial brought him international recognition. There he exhibited a two-metre-high rubber tree made with latex as a metaphor for the product obtained from said tree.
Free, but ticketed
Photography of Venice: © César Lucas, courtesy of the author
Arcangel Gabriel Altarpriece – Color pencil drawing – Size 70 x 100 cm © Ana de Alvear 2019, courtesy of the artist
Prince Hussain Aga Khan © Shari Plant Plummer
Artificial plant greenhouse – Artistic installation © Alberto Baraya, 2020, courtesy of Fernando Pradilla Gallery