Created in the Almería 'alpine desert' in 2015.
Sketchbook notes: I’m here during one of Andalucía’s worst droughts since 1857. It’s rained (almost) four times since January 1st (2014). I’ve witnessed two of these events: though sadly for those who live and work here, neither could compare to the rain I’m used to at home in Scotland. Crops have failed and farmers are facing bankruptcy. Wells and embalsas (reservoirs) have gone dry. Almond and Olive trees have died in their tens of thousands.
Life here over the last fifty / sixty years has changed drastically. All around the studio in which I'm currently working, I see evidence of abandonment, of hardship.
In Franco’s Spain, in the 1960s (when many of the farmhouses in this area were abandoned), those living in remote locations such as this were encouraged to move to their nearest villages and towns (in this case, Vélez-Blanco or Rubiez, around 15km away – and even further afield too, some to Barcelona, Valencia). The ready availability of petroleum meant that rural farming changed drastically – as did rural life. Farmers and their families no longer had to live on their land, and so farmsteads, and indeed entire communities were abandoned. Taken as a whole, this abandonment occurred for an accumulation of reasons, but the story remains the same – life is hard here, in the outback, working this coarse, arid terrain – under the unforgiving sun.