On the sunny morning of April 27th, the third morning painting session organised by the The Vela Latina Association was held in Albufera. Not only did it showcase the immense talent of the painters, but highlighted the importance in preserving the heritage of the area. The Vela Latina Association works for the preservation of the historical, cultural and aesthetic heritage of the traditional native boats with classic Latin sails, along with the recovery of the Albufera National Park. Painters from the region and officials from the Silla Council all joined the association for a relaxing morning of painting.

Held at the remote Motor del Pasiego next to the Albufera Lake, the location was perfect for the painters to get lost in their art. Each artist found their particular spot and set up, with one artist impressively creating an easel out of bamboo. The tranquil scene of rich green foliage, red flowers and boats floating calmly in the water meant that the paintings were varied in colour and texture, yet they all presented a different angle and perspective.

Some of the paintings included the historic white building next to the water, which is known to Valencians as a ‘Barraca.’ Barracas are traditional rural Valencian homes which housed workers who tended to the land. The Albufera Barracas, such as the one at Motor del Pasiego present in some of the paintings, holds deep cultural importance when it comes to Valencian agriculture and rural architecture. Many Barracas are not being preserved and are eroding, and going down with them is a significant part of Valencia’s history. However, charities such as Círculo por la Defensa y Difusión del Patrimonio Cultural, are pushing for better preservation of these historic buildings.

It is not only the preservation of the Barracas that is important to Valencians, but also the natural environment of Albufera. One of the attendees of the painting morning, Salvador Ciges Carbonell, has a passion for expressing his concerns about the condition of Albufera’s natural environment through his work. Having grown up in Catarroja, he has enjoyed the natural environment of Albufera his whole life and has become increasingly concerned with how the site of natural beauty and wildlife is being damaged due to sewage from industries killing wildlife and leaving sediment behind. After a short boat tour of the Albufera Lake, it was clear to see why Salva and the Vela Latin Association are so passionate about protecting and promoting this area of outstanding beauty.

The exhibition, ‘L’Albufera comença a Silla,’ will showcase the paintings from the morning along with a presentation of the book ‘La Albufera de Valencia desde dentro.’ Opening night will be on the 9th of May at 7pm, and the temporary exhibition will then be open on the 10th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th of May from 6:30-8:30pm.

Report by Polly Watton

Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’

 Photos copyright Polly Watton/ ’24/7 Valencia’

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