Nestled in the Genal valley between the Sierra Bermeja and the Genal river, Genalguacil is in the middle of nowhere surrounded by extraordinary scenery. Nevertheless, the drive there on winding mountain roads through one of the largest Pinsapo tree forests of the Serrania de Ronda, is well worth it.
Genalguacil is well known as the pueblo museo (Museum Village) since the streets are full of sculptures and other works of art. This stems from the "Art Encounters" project that the Town hall has organised every two years, since 1996. Visiting artists are given free board and lodging in exchange for a piece of art work to be exhibited in the village. The artists come from all over the world and competition to be included is fierce. The mixture of art, white houses, clean and flowery narrow streets, makes a visit to this town unforgettable.
6 August 2020
After a period closed due to the health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and due to the major renovation it has undergone, the Genalguacil Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) reopened its doors to the public on Saturday 25 July 2020 with the inauguration of the exhibition ’25 Years of History ‘, an exhibition that commemorates the quarter-century since the birth of the Genalguacil Pueblo Museo project.
According to Miguel Ángel Herrera, Mayor of Genalguacil, “with the exhibition ’25 Years of History‘ you will be able to appreciate the dimension of the Genalguacil Pueblo Museo project and how a village with fewer than 500 inhabitants has had the ability to reinvent itself in order to find solutions to the challenge of depopulation. Genalguacil has made contemporary art its best ally for the development of the town,” he said.
On Saturday night, 1 August 2020, the XV edition of Encuentros de Arte (Art Encounters) started in the village. This event of national and international importance in the world of culture ran until 15 August. This biennial event is the flagship of the Genalguacil Pueblo Museo cultural project that was born 25 years ago. The project is based on the perfect combination of four fundamental pillars: art, culture, tradition and nature. This mechanism has managed to produce positive results as an engine of tourist and economic development, as well as a tool that helps to curb depopulation in the municipality and its surroundings.
In 2020 a group of seven very different artists from the most diverse places, energised by their common goal of offering the best of themselves, came to the village to create their art, with the Council providing their accommodation, living expenses, materials and a fee of 1,000 euros. In return, the artists leave their work as a legacy to be admired by visitors to the village whilst interacting with the inhabitants of Genalguacil during their development.
Over the 25 years approximately 180 artists have been involved and currently there are more than 160 works of art; of which nearly 90 are scattered around the streets and corners of the village. A similar number are exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art.
During the Art Encounters fortnight, Genalguacil is filled with activities and workshops for all types of audiences that complement the activities carried out by the artists.
My wife and I certainly enjoyed our day in the village seeing the artworks on the streets, the exhibition in the MAC and the beautiful scenery roundabout. An impromptu lunch in one of the four bars in the village, while chatting with the very friendly local people, made this a lovely day out.