Home is where the art is

Prisca Sinay's boat.
Prisca Sinay's boat. / PRISCA SINAY
  • A new exhibition reflects on the importance of the Mediterreanean sea to the Costa del Sol

Prisca Sinay's husband, Hanock, says “This isn't a house, it's a gallery,” as I sit admiring his wife's work: on the walls, propped up against the walls, in the courtyard of their house in Vélez-Málaga and even the light shades.

He has a point. But who wouldn't want to live in an art gallery? This is the home that Prisca, 52, and Hanock moved to with their two children in 2014.

Their 18-year-old son has since moved back to Holland, but their daughter, who is 15, goes to school in Vélez-Málaga.

“I can't explain what it is about Spain but I just feel I have a connection with it,” says Prisca, who first travelled to the country from her native Holland on holiday in 1990.

She returned several times, mainly on cycling holidays and stayed mainly in the north, visiting Burgos and cycling the Camino de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela.

She says she “became fanatic” about the country, the language, its culture and flamenco and when back in Holland she studied Spanish and took flamenco lessons.

“I love the Spanish language. It's much more complete than Dutch. It's magical, poetic,” Prisca reflects.

At home in Spain

After splitting up with a boyfriend in Holland, Prisca came back to Spain, this time to Granada, where she stayed from 1993 to 1995.

“I saw an advertisement in a Dutch newspaper for a school in Granada,” she recalls, adding, “there was no internet in those days.

Everything was much more complicated to arrange.” But Prisca says that she loved being at the school and “felt at home” in Granada.”

However, it wasn't until 13 years later, in August 2008, that she and Hanock eventually moved here permanently.

Prisca is originally from Maastricht in the Netherlands and studied Fine Art at St Joost Academy in Breda and at ABK Maastricht.

Although her attraction to Spain was strong, it wasn't enough for her to return and she made the decision to stay in Holland after meeting Hanock. Prisca explains that she worked as an artist while “doing normal jobs”.

The couple went on to have two children and while they holidayed in Spain and Prisca kept up the language and flamenco classes, the spark she had never died.

Following an illness in the family, Prisca says that it was Hanock who suggested the family move to Spain.

Knowing that the Iberian flame was still burning in Prisca, he put the idea to his wife.

She was able to carry on working for the cultural organisation she was by then working for and the family moved.

Unsurprisingly, their first Spanish home was in Granada province, where they found an old 'cortijo' and lived there before coming to Vélez-Málaga three years ago.

Prisca continued to work in the same way as she had in Holland, doing “normal” jobs to support her artwork.

But, she has always created art. “My work has definitely changed since I have been in Spain,” the multidisciplinary artist explains.

“I am inspired by the light, the space and society. I am an observer and I see beauty everywhere,” she adds.

A sense of light

Prisca uses paint, textiles, zinc and photography to develop her pieces, which transmit the serenity and sense of light that clearly inspire her.

The colours are neutral and natural, with flecks of colour or even glitter, giving a light-hearted edge to her work.

The theme of her latest exhibition, which opens on Tuesday in El Pósito exhibition space in Vélez-Málaga, 'Contra Viento y Marea', is the importance of the sea to society in the part of Spain Prisca has chosen to call home.

“It's not political as such by there are subtle messages about the difference between our life here on the Costa del Sol and the lives of people just the other side of this small sea,” she explains.

A lifesize fisherman's boat, made using recycled wood and thread, which normally hangs in the courtyard of their home, will also form part of the exhibition; a symbolic image of the lives of fishermen here in the Axarquía.

Prisca says that she feels a “sense of belonging” in Spain and her art is certainly reflected in this.

“It is lighter since I moved here,” she says. This new exhibition will allow people to get an idea of wonderfully creative atmosphere of the “not a house” where Prisca and Hanock live.