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Arabian Arcadia

From September 24, 2020 until November 08, 2020Mondays through Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30. Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Casa Árabe exhibition halls (at Calle Alcalá, 62). Mondays through Saturdays, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:30. Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.

Starting on September 24, Casa Árabe will be holding this exhibition of photos from the island of Socotra and the oases of Egypt by Jordi Esteva. The show, which forms part of the PHotoEspaña Festival, was curated by Jesús Cañete Ochoa.

Presented at the exhibition “Arabian Arcadia” are two series of photographs taken by Jordi Esteva. The first consists of images from Socotra, the island of Sindbad the Sailor, a place lost in the Indian Ocean nearly four hundred kilometers off the coast of Arabia; a mythical space to which both Indians and Greeks or Arabs from the south travelled for centuries, lured in by the coveted properties of the fragrant incense and myrrh tree resins. The second series is made up of photographs of the five great oases of Egypt (Siwa, Bahariya, Farafra, Dahla and Jarga), small worlds which have long stood still in time, holding onto their own culture while giving rise to numerous legends. Regarding his way of understanding photography, Jordi says: “I was not concerned about taking snapshots of dunes or mirages, or the Pharaohs’ temples which have crumbled in places that would have been the delight of romantic travelers... My attitude was that of the patient hunter lying in wait. I sought the right time, chased the shadows and waited for the moment. I wanted to capture the spirit of the place.”

Jordi Esteva, a writer and photographer, is passionate about Eastern and African cultures, to which he has devoted most of his photography, film and literary work. He was the editor-in-chief and art director of the magazine Ajoblanco from 1987 to 1993. As a writer, he has authored the books Los oasis de Egipto (Egypt’s Oases), Fortalezas de barro en el sur de Marruecos (Mud Fortresses in Southern Morocco), Mil y una voces (A Thousand and One Voices), Viaje al país de las almas (Journey to the Country of Souls), Los árabes del mar (The Arabs of the Sea) and Socotra, la isla de los genios (Socotra, Island of the Djinns). He has directed the documentary films Return to the Country of Souls, Komian, Socotra: Island of the Djinns and, most recently, Tales of Cabo Corrientes: Ancestral voices of the Colombian Pacific.

Jesús Cañete Ochoa has a PhD in Comparative Literature. He has authored essayed about African-American issues and has curated many photo exhibitions (Pierre Verger, Andalusia 1935; Alfonso, To the Senegal by Aeroplane, as well as others), in addition to exhibitions on various writers (Juan Gelman, Ana María Matute, Juan Goytisolo, Ida Vitale…).
Arabian Arcadia
JORDI ESTEVA Storm near Mut. Dahla Oasis

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About Socotra: A conversation with Jordi Esteva

On Thursday, July 23, we will be holding this online conversation with photographer and writer Jordi Esteva. You can watch it on our Youtube and Facebook Live channels as of 6:00 p.m.
July 23, 2020 ONLINE