Visual arts programme

Hussain Aga Khan

The living sea - Fragile beauty

Marine photos by Hussain Aga Khan

The exhibition The Living Sea uses the extraordinary photographs of committed conservationist Hussain Aga Khan as a point of departure to raise social awareness of the sublime beauty, complexity and fragility of life in the oceans. The eloquent narrative of the images serves as a starting point to inspire conversations on the global impact oceans have on science, the overarching environment and contemporary society as it faces the climate crisis, the extinction of species and the destruction of nature, the theme for Hay Festival Segovia 2020.

Hussain explains that in his photography, he “lets the animals and trees speak for themselves and hopes other people see the beauty I see.” His fascination for the underwater world began at the tender age of five when he discovered tropical fish. By 12 he was certain that his future would be linked to the conservation of the environment. In1996, he started taking photographs of the fauna and flora in the Brazilian Amazon. His photographs have featured in exhibitions in Kenya, the United States, France, Portugal and Switzerland, as well as in two books -- Animal Voyage in 2004 and Diving into Wildlife in 2015. Hussain’s photographs have also illustrated blogs for the National Geographic.

His fascination for photographing nature is a true reflection of his commitment to the conservation of the environment and its inhabitants. Through the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat and the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan Fund for the Environment, Hussain Aga Khan has been involved with disaster risk reduction and natural resource management. He has participated in various environmental projects, including tree planting in East Africa, biodiversity preservation in Asia, and research on climate change and water.

In 2014, he launched Focused on Nature, to “share his passion and personal mission of conservation, raise awareness and encourage actionable initiatives on global issues negatively impacting the environment”. FON provides grants directly to organizations dedicated to protecting wildlife and conserving habitats. Hussain has placed his entire collection of work at the disposal of FON to raise funds through the sale of limited edition prints and to participate in exhibitions.

For more information on Prince Hussain Aga Khan and Focused on Nature

Inauguration: Monday 7 September 2020, at 12pm

Closing date: Sunday 27 September 2020, at 8pm

Venue: Zuloaga Museum (Church of San Juan de los Caballeros)

Opening times: Wednesday, from 9am to 4pm. Thursday to Sunday from 12pm to 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm

Coordinator of visits and information:

Free entrance

Curators: Emilio Gil, Xenia Geroulanos, Nuno Gusmao, Jorge Prudêncio and Marta Costa

Photos and texts: Hussain Aga Khan

Exhibition and Graphic Design: Tau Design

Production: Clorofila Digital

Photo credits:

Hussain Aga Khan: © Shari Plant Plummer

Turtle, dolphins and whales: © Prince Hussain Aga Khan

Marine photos by Hussain Aga Khan
Visual Arts sponsors

Alberto Baraya

Topical "mutisianas" greenhouse

In his exhibition Tropical “Mutisian” Greenhouse, Colombian artist Alberto Baraya explores natural conservation and reflects between fiction and reality with his particular greenhouse of flowers and plants made of cloth and plastic. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National University of Colombia, a Doctorate of Aesthetics and Art Theory from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, in 1992, Baraya started exploring various media, including photography, video, and installation. His work is aimed at researching and questioning scientific knowledge and the instruments that legitimize it: expeditions and museums. His initiatives and work generate dialogues that vindicate the culture and analysis of the exotic as a concept. His most extensive project, the Herbarium of artificial plants, is a proposal that questions the scientific paradigm, postcolonial societies and that, at the same time, reflects on everyday aesthetic actions. One of the fundamental parts of this project is the Tropical “Mutisianas” Greenhouse.

Baraya’s professional journey has been an expedition as much as an exploration; his methodical approach an essential thematic source of his artistic project. The framework of this artist’s strategy is defined by cataloguing, building an archive or the taxonomic classification that refer to the methods of those scientific expeditions of the eighteenth century, but that from the perspective of the contemporary experience, reshape the concept that questions the scientific paradigm itself and draws new categories for the interpretation of everyday aesthetic actions. We thus participate in the construction of a personal herbarium conceived from fake plants, made industrially or by hand in plastic, fabric, paper, ceramic and wire, which are collected and documented by the artist. Each entry is submitted to Baraya’s analysis in the form of a traditional botanical sheet, which includes descriptions, drawings, photographs, collages that record the process of work while documenting the collection data - place, date, collector - and the uses of artificial plants in different situations and contexts.

Baraya's work has been exhibited worldwide in various solo and group exhibitions. Among the most recent, Potential Worlds 1, Planetary Memories at the Migros Museum in Zurich, March 2020; Herbariums imagined, between art and science, Art Center of the Complutense University of Madrid, January 2020; Flora at the Stavanger Art Museum in Norway in 2019 and Mesuras at the Fundación Cerezales de León, 2019. It is also worth highlighting the exhibitions at the Conde Duque Center in Madrid in 2015, the Cultural Center of São Paulo in 2015, the BUDA Cultural Center in Kortrijk, Belgium in 2014 or the exhibition “Naturalism / Artificiality: Expeditions and Research of the Herbarium of Artificial Plants” presented in 2013 at The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum of Florida International University.

His participation in the 2006 Sao Paulo Biennial brought him international recognition. There he exhibited a two-meter-high rubber tree made with latex as a metaphor for the product obtained from said tree.

Inauguration: Monday 7 September 2020 at 1pm

Closing date: Sunday 20 September 2020 at 8pm

Venue: Huerta de Félix Ortíz (Marqués de Villena Street)

Opening times:
Friday 18 September, from 6pm to 8pm
Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September, from 12pm to 2pm and from 6pm to 8pm

Free entrance

Co-organiser: Galería Fernando Pradilla – contact:

Collaborators: Colombian Embassy, Castilla y León Government, Segovia City Council and Huerta de Félix Ortíz

#visualarts #nature

Photo credits: © Alberto Baraya

Alberto Baraya sponsors


Snapshots imprinted on the national retina

There are images that remain imprinted on the retina of the beholder, but very that do so forever in the memory of a nation. The collective work of Cesar Lucas is a benchmark in photojournalism in Spain. Among his snapshots are some of the most unforgettable moments in the history of the transition from dictatorship to democracy and at times they even made history.

César Lucas started out as a photographer at the age of 17 working for Europa Press agency. One of his first snapshots dates from 1959, when he captures Che Guevara dressed in uniform walking through the Complutense University in Madrid. During the following days, the image was shown all over the world, but was banned from publication in Spain by the censors of Franco’s regime.

Lucas moved onto the daily Pueblo as a photojournalist and in 1965 he founded Cosmo Press, his own photo agency, which enabled him to juggle his commitments to the press with commissions from studios which at the time produced major films in Spain. He had the opportunity to take portraits on set of the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery, Raquel Welch, Yul Brinner, Romy Schneider, John Lennon, Billy Wilder, Clint Eastwood, Stephen Boyd and Buster Keaton for producers such as Twentieth Century Fox, United Artists y Metro Goldwyn Mayer. He became a founding member of the newspaper El País, and was its first photo editor, boosting the role of photojournalism in the news desk. He would later become photo editor for the news conglomerate Grupo Z.

However, it seems impossible to understand Lucas’ oeuvre without the long and intense professional relationship he, along with other artists and celebrities of the time, had with Marisol, the young singer and actress who captivated a generation and hungered for news on her. In 1976, the establishment challenger magazine Interviú published images of a bare chested Marisol that had been taken six years earlier, but had never come to light. The photographs accompanied an exclusive feature in which she revealed that she no longer wanted to be known as Marisol – thus leaving behind the child prodigy – and was to be known by her real name, Pepa Flores. The image shocked and divided Spanish society. Lucas ended up in court. After four years of litigation, the judges declared in his favour on the basis of the quality of the photograph.

When Interviú closed down in 2018, the magazine reproduced the image from its ground-breaking and highest-selling cover. The cover made history, it set a before and after during the transition. A snapshot that remains imprinted on the retina of the nation.

Inauguration: Monday 7 September 2020, 11am

Opening times: From Wednesday to Friday from 17pm to 9pm

Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm and from 5pm to 9pm

* For security reasons, on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th only those who attend the events scheduled for those days at this venue can visit the exhibition.

Closing date: Sunday 4 October 2020, 8pm

Venue: La Alhóndiga

Free entrance

Curators: Aurelio Martín González, Víctor Lerena, Antonio Graell y Eduardo Méndez

Collaborators: Segovia City Council, National Association of Graphic Reporters and Press, Segovia Journalists Association, F.A.P.E and Repsol

Photo credits: © César Lucas

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Ana de Alvear

Let it be done unto me according to your word

The multi-media artist Ana de Alvear specializes in large format installation pieces and has created a bespoke project to make the most of the chapel in the Contemporary Art Museum Esteban Vicente, which is listed as a Bien de Interés Cultural, an official Spanish denomination for heritage sites of cultural interest. Hágase en mí según tu palabra (Let it be unto me according to your word) is an installation on the mystery of the Annunciation, comprised of a large altarpiece situated at the altar and a choir of 40 contemporary angels drawn in pencil that simulate a weathered fresco on the wall with more and less intense colouring. The choir was inspired by Paradise by Nardo di Cione in the Strozzi Chapel in Santa María Novella in Florence and is divided up into boxes of recyclable cardboard in the centre of the nave.

Unlike other traditional representations in which the Virgin appears frightened following the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel, the artist shows a Virgin gathering herself up and assuming a protective pose in light of the news she is going to bear a child The Annunciation is composed of 16 segments which are brought together by the Holy Spirit and measures 2 x 3 metres.

The installation is intrinsically linked to the exhibition space and totals 57 drawings by this Spanish artist who has achieved international recognition and this year is also exhibiting her work in the San Diego Museum of Art and in the Museum of Natural Sciences of Moscow.

Inauguration: Monday 7 September 2020, 11.30pm

Closing date: Sunday 20 September 2020, 8pm

Venue: Chapel of Esteban Vicente Museum

Opening times:
Monday 7 to Thursday 17 of September, from 5pm to 8pm
Friday 18, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September, from 11am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm

Free entrance

Guided visits by the artist: Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September at 1.30pm, lasting 30 minutes. Essential reservation by email:

Collaborators: Provincial Government of Segovia and Esteban Vicente Museum

Photo credits: Color pencil drawing - Size 70 x 100 cm © Ana de Alvear 2019