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CONFInARTE Algeciras Exhibition: Pandemic Reflections & Longing for Freedom

Rosario Pérez | Photos: Fran Montes,

We are told that the worst of the pandemic are over; but its negative effects still linger among us and continues to influence our lives, the way we feel, express ourselves and how we view the world.

COnFINARTE art exhibition José Luis Cano Algeciras

Creative expression has been the vehicle for artists to record their experiences by transforming the ugliness of tragedy and hardship into art – something which has been done throughout the history of the world.

The COnFINARTE exhibition at the José Luis Cano Documentary Centre in Algeciras is exactly this: a collection of pandemic experiences which opened its doors at the end of April and will remain open to the public until May 28 (8:30– 14:00 and 15:00 – 18:00).

The exhibition is a collaboration between the Algeciras and Malaga City councils and features paintings, sculptures and photography from 19 creatives.

COnFINARTE art exhibition José Luis Cano Algeciras

Each piece at CONFInArte was created during the health and societal crisis caused by the pandemic.

At the inauguration of the exhibition, Algeciras minister of culture, Pilar Pintor, said: “these painters, photographers and sculptors wanted to express their concerns during the lockdown with the materials which they were comfortable working with, which has produced very different works than you would normally expect from each artist”.

The participating artist are: Ösca, Carmen Fernández Toré, Alberto Urbano, Juani Lobato, Damian Doratelo, Lalufa₃ Team, Jose Manuel Gallego, Ludmina Serra, Alba Dalmau, José Manuel López Toirán, Silvana Rrcese, Mariusz Pakiela, Kopa Eguezdi, Rafael Heredia, Yojan Juarez, Elena Schcherbakova , Didac Vilanova, Begoña Salamanca and José María López Báez. Their works reflect catharsis and invite quiet contemplation and awareness about these experiences.

COnFINARTE art exhibition José Luis Cano Algeciras

Prominent features are the masked faces and houses with open windows which reflect the desperation for freedom, both symbolic representations of the struggles of the pandemic, as well as butterfly wings and representations of a situation which turned people’s lives upside down and continues to do so.

There is an abundance of colour at the gallery, with oil, acrylic and watercolour paintings which are perhaps an emotional response to the darkness of the worst days. But greys are also present, as you will find on “Walk on the wild side” or the “The night in black and white” by José María López Báez.

“Sin besos”, an oil painting by José Manuel Gallego, feature shades of brown and black which shows a masked face with penetrating eyes which seem to be begging the question, “when does this nightmare end?”

Impressive sculptures can be found, such as “Rincón de Pensar 1,2,3” by Equipo Lalufa, made with reinforced concrete, metal and transfer text among others which feature wood and stone. Prominent pieces in the photography section include an impressive digital print from the “Lucian Series” by Mariusz Pakiela.

COnFINARTE art exhibition José Luis Cano Algeciras

All this within the José Luis Cano Documentary Centre in the heart of Algercias.

Some of the facilities, like the public library, have established themselves as a meeting place for cultural activities, which are recovering its normal pace… the kind of atmosphere from before the restrictions were implemented and forced people to turn to social media.

What do you think?