The Greatest Story Ever Grown

Imagine a painting so enchanting and emotional it took your breath away, then imagine it housed in a gallery so stylish and beautiful it almost outshone the contents. That was the sort of Easter Thursday I found in Guia de Isora for the first of the four day Pascua Florida street exhibition of floral sculptures.

My last visit to the event, unique in Spain, was on a cloudy day but this year the sun blazed and the views out over Playa San Juan to the crystal clear island of La Gomera were as good as I have ever seen them. Taking the modern concrete ramp off the main road, a series of large straw cubes ringed with flowers eased me into onto the church surrounds. “Dice” was the name of this work, referring to the casting of lots as people waited for Jesus to die on the cross. Just beyond was the church plaza and a stunning piece “From The Sixth Hour” with an Agave plant representing nails through the lords hands as roses bloomed below. It was at that point the church bells peeled gently, I wasn’t the only one to stop and savour the moment.

I must make it clear that I am the least religious person I know but I can still appreciate beauty, sincere sentiment, and well crafted art. Guia de Isora is cracking little town bursting with character and for the Pascua Florida the narrow backstreets are closed to what little traffic there is, allowing a gentle stroll around the 18 works, each with a brief description in several languages. But wherever you go, the recently refurbished church of our lady of the light draws you back to its large, partly shaded plaza – the crown of thorns made a nice centre piece.  You might think I was laying it on a bit thick if I said the birds were chirping sweetly as well – but they were.

Anyway it was time to explore the back streets to tick off all the works, not in strict number order, the map on each description was a rough guide to how the streets linked up. Back To Life in a long side alley may have looked like multi coloured wizards hats but it referred to the disciples waiting for the resurection. Passing along Calle La Vera it was nice to see the red crosses on the cultural centre, these are a regular feature but not one of the 18 main works. Next up was one good enough to eat. People were still working on a wall mounted work featuring fresh bread rolls weaved into the circular design. Some of the settings are cleverly tucked away, such as Sermon In The Garden, trailing up a narrow stone walkway. At this point several works could be viewed at once and also a tempting glimpse of the church, a couple of artists were sketching what they saw, very impressively, I was hopeless at art in school.

I took a few detours and back tracked to see a few favourite creations, it was good to see so many people enjoying the day. Forced to choose, i´d have plumped for “Unconditional Love”  simply because the heart design looked so wonderful with the majestic church in the background. Many gathered around the church plaza, a shadey cafeteria was doing a brisk trade and a small wind instrument orchestra struck up with some live classical offerings. On the following evening there would be live theatre in the streets but I grabbed a snack further down the road and waited at the bus station for my green chariot back to Los Cristianos.