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art and travel journal from a round-the-world art adventure

Can Serrat

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 25 April 2009 | Views [1124] | Comments [3]

In the 1970s a group of Norwegian artists bought an abandoned and near derelict farmhouse in the Monserrat region of southern Spain. Over the next four years they restored and repaired and now, 30 years later, it is a thriving community of international and local artists.

The house sits in the bottom of a valley on the old road to Barcelona. The new road runs along the escarpment 100 meters south. So while it is only a five minute walk up the hill to the town of El Bruc with its complement of shops and cafes, the house itself is an island, and the only other signs of human intervention in the landscape are the almond orchards, recently in bloom, and now full of the green furred fruit that the Syrians eat unripe with lemon and salt.

The artists are a mix of painters, drawers, sculptors, printmakers and illustrators. P____ is working on a graphic novel about Picasso's Guernica, M___ embroiders death's heads onto folk art fabrics, W___ walks in the valleys and low hills and draws the spectacular, many fingered ridge of the mountain range.

Because the studios are large I have begun work on a series of charcoal drawings of cities from my travels. A small piece of Cairo is reforming itself here in the stillness and quiet of southern Spain. I joke with J______ that it would have been good to make a recording of the sounds of the Darb al Ahmar, so that now the studio would be full of the noise of schoolchildren, band saws in the woodworking district, taxis, delivery men and, five times a day, the roar from the mosques.

Or not, and this other Cairo is quiet in ways the original is only rarely. Emptied of people, the stoves of the kitchens no longer smoking, the streets no longer full of traffic. In one window of the endless apartment buildings a rug is being aired in the spring sunshine.



still amazing.
i like big.

  mim Apr 28, 2009 4:50 PM


Nice, Damon!

  Bård May 17, 2009 4:31 AM


Congrats!! on receiving the Toyota award....Nice work, love the direct rawness of the charcoal , the crowded buildings supporting each other... I went to Can Serrat in 2005 and loved it. hope it will be as inspiring for you as it was me.. I had the back studio to myself for a month came home with 50 works on paper.
today in australia,Im still creating sculpture connected to the experience in Barcelona ......

  Jenny Jul 17, 2009 5:25 PM

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