IGNACIO DEL RÍO

Robert and Maggi, an arty couple

Exhibition. More than forty years ago this British pair arrived in Malaga, a place they consider to be "fabulous and inspiring" to create paintings and sculptures, which are being exhibited at Ignacio del Río's studio until 10 December

CRISTINA PINTO

In 1978, British couple Maggi Harris and Robert Harding arrived in Malaga. Both artists, they had become engaged a few years earlier when they decided to move to the south of Spain.

They did not plan to stay, but fast-forward forty years and they are still on the Costa del Sol, living and working happily.

Maggi speaks from their home in Torrox, where she enjoys views of the mountains and Frigiliana, alongside the pleasant warmth of the Malaga sun.

The pair are exhibiting some of their work in Dueto (Duet) at Ignacio del Río's Studio until mid-DecemberThe family lives between Torrox and Frigiliana; Timsam Harding, the couple's son, is also an artist

Robert, on the other hand, talks to us from a Swedish ice hotel, where he is spending a few days making a room.

Lifestyle

"We arrived in Andalucía and we liked the lifestyle, the people, the landscape...That's why we decided to stay," Harding says.

When Harris begins to think about her arrival in the city, she says, "We wanted to be in a place between the sea and the mountains."

The couple have set up their life here, and make up a family of artists with their son Timsam, now aged 27.

Timsam studied Fine Art at the University of Malaga and is now doing his doctorate.

"He's a proper 'malagueño'," says his mother when talking about him.

Since living in Malaga they have worked hard to make a place for themselves in the city's artistic sphere, Maggi Harris with paintings and Robert Harding through sculptures.

Struggles

"It has always been a struggle, it hasn't been easy. But we decided that art is our life. And Malaga is fabulous for creating," says Harding, who points to nature as his greatest inspiration.

"Nature has always been in human beings," reflects the artist.

Maggi defines her and Harding's work as "self-taught".

"We have learned from our own work and creation...But we work separately," Harding adds.

"We have breakfast together, eat together and at night we are together. But the rest of the day we are in our separate studios working," explains the artist.

"We talk a lot about art," says Harris.

Their studios are separated but now their creations are not only in the same house, but also together in the agllery of Ignacio del Río.

The exhibition is called Dueto (Duet), and can be visited until 10 December, "although it is almost certain that we will extend the date," Ignacio del Río says.

Parallel universes

The studio is where these parallel universes that coexist in the same family come together in one exhibition, Maggi's paintings and Robert's sculptures.

There are five pieces in total: two by Harding (Semicorchea and Corichea) and three by Harris (Day-Night, Openings and Sonnets).

"His work and mine go very well together," Maggi says.

They wanted to keep the space clean and make it as simple as possible.

"Ignacio has a great studio space. We have already exhibited together previously, I think our art communicates a lot. We have very similar tastes and the harmony is noticeable," Harding explains.

Semicorchea and Corchea are the most recent works that Robert Harding has done this year.

Materials

Maggi's paintings show her essence. "I've worked with bandages here. I have always worked with many elements: sheets, sacks, cardboard, newspapers... With much prominence. I started with weaving, although little by little I have stopped doing it," reveals the artist.

Love is also prominent in the British couple's art.

Maggi's dimensions, pigments and accents complement Robert's sculptures that play with proportion and nature.

These creations intertwine wonderfully and are proudly made in Malaga, a city that continues to grow in the art world.

Living from art

"We have been able to live for many years from art and we can't complain. It has been difficult, but hey.

Now there are many more opportunities, the public is taking more interest in contemporary art and there are more and more talented young people. Although more private galleries are needed," says Harding.

Although they are currently separated by work, these two Britons, along with their son who is Malaga born and bread, are part of the community of artists who moved to the Costa del Sol and were enthralled by the inspiration it gives to their creations.