Barbara Krulik (curator), Leif Ahrle, Anne Duse, Puck Jansson, Cecilia, Basma Ashworth and Helen Sijsling. J. R.
Arts Society Nerja transcends 30 years of culture and charity
Art and culture

Arts Society Nerja transcends 30 years of culture and charity

An exhibition of work by 20 of the organisation's new and long-standing members is open until 18 February in the town's Sala de Exposiciones

Friday, 2 February 2024, 12:34


The Arts Society Nerja is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and what better way to do so than with an exhibition of work created by some of its 230 members? Transcending Time reflects on the last three decades of the society's existence and in a statement the organisers said, "We have chosen the passage of time for our theme and title. The variety of images and ideas explored are both universal and of the moment; in short, they transcend time."

Twenty new and long-standing members are exhibiting work specially selected for the exhibition, which runs until 18 February at Nerja's Sala de Exposiciones on Calle Almirante Ferrándiz.

Among the artists exhibiting is colourist Basma Ashworth, who paints and creates textiles. Basma, 69, was born in the Middle East and brought up in Greece. She went to the UK to study Chemical Engineering and ended up staying there for 43 years. She was a research scientist before giving it all up to focus on creating art in 1997.

Basma has lived in Nerja with her Scottish husband for four years. Speaking to SUR in English ahead of the exhibition, "They came to my studio and decided they wanted two large paintings, one small and one piece of textile."

Planet earth

Puck Jansson, a Swedish painter who spent 15 years working as an economist in Panama, Colombia and Chile. She has had a house near Marbella for 13 years and lives between Spain and Sweden. Puck, 68, is exhibiting paintings inspired by Nerja that she was invited to paint especially for the event. She says of her art, "I want to make people happy."

Swedish readers may know Leif Ahrle as a well-known actor on the Swedish screen and stage. He has also been creating art from a young age and has exhibited around Europe and in the USA. Leif, 80, now divides his time between Marbella and Stockholm. Leif is exhibiting three of his glass sculptures, which he says have an important message behind them about "planet earth". He says, "It's a wonderful planet and mankind needs to take care of it."

Surviving Brexit and Covid

The Arts Society Nerja, or Nerja Nadfas as it was known then, was founded in 1994 by Roberta Kettel, a British resident living in Nerja at the time. Roberta was approached by some people who had been attending the meetings at the Costa del Sol society in Fuengirola, which incidentally was set up in 1988 and was the first of its kind in Spain.

Helen Sijsling has been Chair of the Nerja society for six years and has kept membership up and a full programme of lectures going throughout the turbulent years of Brexit and the Covid pandemic.

Ahead of the anniversary celebrations, she told SUR in English, "We now have over 230 members from 14 different countries. We think one of the reasons is that we are doing all lectures live from Nerja and on Zoom, plus we have a catch-up service of 36 hours. This makes our programme accessible to many more people."

As well as the lecture programme the society funds local arts-related charity projects. The current ones include a music competition and flamenco lessons.

The exhibition is open to the public every day until 18 February, 12-2pm and 4-9pm. There are gallery talks every day from 1.30-2pm. For further information visit:

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