Archive for September, 2009
Taking the Pod to the TEA in Tenerife

Bright, modern and eye catching, that just about sums up TEA-Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, in Santa Cruz, but until October 4, there’s a multi coloured marine welcome in the form of 13 whale sculptures from the Loro Parque Foundation. When all their friends are present, there are 18 of these 2.5 metre high acrylic works, made by 13 different Canarian artists in an attempt to highlight the threat to cetaceans in the oceans of the world.

Expo Orca has brought together some of the brightest talents in the Canary Islands art scene and the results are visually stunning. The quartet at the top of this post collectively depict the 4 basic elements of life, fire, water, air and earth, all the work of Pepe Damaso, from Gran Canaria.

Make the most of the Orcas in their TEA setting, they move on after October 4 but will be popping up at both Tenerife airports, Los Rodeos in the north and Reina Sofia in the  south, before heading out to Gando airport in Gran Canaria.

Another crazy stir of TEA in Santa Cruz

A stuffed donkey, a blood covered woman rolling in feathers, and a humming bird in a trance, there’s only one place I could be. TEA (Tenerife Espacio de las Artes) , the wonderful and sometimes downright weird art and culture gallery in Santa Cruz. This was my 4th visit since they opened barely a year ago, it’s always a real treat for all the senses, and depending on your viewpoint, challenging or baffling.


The exhibitions change and overlap, I started in Sala A where The Collection, the best works of La Laguna’s famous artist, Oscar Dominguez, and Written Portrait, a collection of sketches and photos by Patti Smith, are both finishing on September 6. A brief brush up, reminded me how vibrant Oscar’s slightly surreal works were but as a fan of Patti Smith the leader of the 70’s New York punk scene, I was keen to see her other talents. To be blunt , the sketches looked like a childs scribble, and the polaroids were pretty ordinary, a few too many rock and roll Woodbines over the years for Patti I feel. Tucked just inside Sala A is Area 60, a small room reserved for experimental performance and active art, the latest being Impasse by Beatriz Lecuona and Oscar Hernandez, which I just missed “going off” at 1pm, it also does its thing at Noon, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm, more of that later.


The main Sanata Cruz library (above) now resides at TEA, in a bright modern setting with loads of work spaces for students to study, there is also a cinema that shows international films of note in their original language, normally 4 euros, seperate or extra to the main admission prices. Sala B was calling, offering Mexico, Expected/Unexpected, and this is where it got very strange. This collection from Isabel and Agustin Coppel sprawls through several rooms, starting with displays of shovels and a forest of scrap metal, representing the hard labour the poor people of Mexico were made to endure to raid the country’s natural wealth for rich exploiters.

Then I turned a corner, and saw such an ass, no not a mirror, an actual stuffed donkey sat in a corner, looking fairly relaxed considering what had happened to it. The surprises came thick and fast now, a video of a Humming Bird,enticed into a trance – possibly one of Paul McKennas tricks, and a video room showed a young naked Cuban lady empty a jug of blood over herself at the edge of a lake, before rolling in a pile of white feathers. A bit further, another video area showed a tug of war with men pulling a white Volkswagen in several directions as a band played a cover of Moby Dick by Led Zepplin – are you confused yet, I was.

Sala C was pretty tame in comparison, Mi Colecion de Vidas by Alexis W, head and shoulder photos of the artist and friends, set against a black background, quite haunting. I adjourned at this point back into the outside world for food and drink as I digested all I had seen. One last pleasure drew me back for 5pm, Impasse was due to blow. A large “fireplace” for want of a better word, stood against a white wall, the staff, who again outnumbered the visitors, were as fascinated as I was as a rumbling sound was followed by a cascade of black plastic paint, which went on for around 5 minutes, strangely hypnotic. My suggestion to the staff, that the paint could be replaced with chocolate or Dorada got a chuckle and little resistance.

I may sound a bit cynical, but TEA is a firm favourite with me, always fun, interesting and different, I just wish more people would visit it. TEA is open from 10am to 8pm Tuesday to Sunday, entrance is 5 euros for adults, 2.50 euros for residents, one euro for over 65’s and under 26’s and FREE for under 12’s. Check out the website and pop in soon, you would be an ass to miss it.

Wheels of fire, legs of lycra in Los Cristianos

Saddles so sharp they could do you a mischief, and not a bell or saddlebag in sight. The 100 plus cyclists from 14 teams, came bombing down Funchal and into the heart of Los Cristianos this afternoon, to complete stage 3 of this years Vuelta Ciclista of Tenerife. Police had sealed off several roads but with little advance publicity, crowds were sparse, and drivers were irritated at having to move from their usual parking places.

I tried to guess the arrival time but made a schoolboy error, calculating how long it would take from the start point of Candelaria up on the east coast. A check of the 95.3 km route showed that they only hugged the coast until forsaking the TF 28 at San Isidro to make the uphill climb to San Miguel, and a downhill finish through Valle San Lorenzo and back on the TF 28 at the Guaza roundabout.

Los Cristianos centre was well snarled up by the time the peleton (pack) came in sight, there were no advance posters and the excellent free glossy colour guide book, only appeared at the Cultural Centre on the morning of the stage. The stage and podium were ready in the car park, converted for this weekends Virgen del Carmen fiesta but it seemed forever until the support vehicles arrived, screaming downhill with sirens blazing, followed by the lycra flash of the leaders, now I know why the pot holes have recently been filled in by the traffic lights.

Sweeping into the car park, sorry showground, the sweaty sportsmen got a good reception and grabbed cold drinks as the prize giving was prepared.In true Tour style, there were 7 different coloured jerseys to be awarded in various categories, bunches of flowers, and smiling sponsors, but no sign of champers, well there were still 2 more stages to go. The yellow jersey was retained from the previous day by Spains Jose Belda for the CCN Valencia team, something of a veteran at 34 but showing the others a clean pair of pedals.

Tomorrow (Saturday) the action switches to El Sauzal (noon) for the longest stage, 101 kms to Santiago del Teide on the west coast, and then the climax is on Sunday, split into 2 stages, from Santa Cruz (9am) to San Andres and back, followed by a 45 km round trip of La Laguna, leaving Camino de La Rua at 5pm and ending in Plaza del Cristo. Good luck to them all, and lets hope for no punctures.

David Silva heads Pio tourist raid on Tenerife

Damm those pesky Pios, you just can’t trust them, their inferiority complex has led Gran Canaria tourist bosses to launch a visitor recruitment drive here in Tenerife. Valencia and Spain footballer David Villa appers in a promotional video for Gran Canaria, that is being shown in Santa Cruz and La Laguna, with the object of enticing people to try the dubious attractions of Pio land.

Silva is from Arguineguin in the south of Gran Canaria, and on the video he is seen strolling through the sand dunes of nearby Maspalomas, trying to make the giant sand pit look attractive. The whole sordid promotion is the latest in a long running sore between the 2 islands, that stretches back into history. In their defence for this promotion, the Pios would say that Tenerife fired the first salvo in this latest skirmish, handing out promotional material on the front at their Las Canteras beach in Las Palmas a few months ago, to tempt visitors over from them to Tenerife – we of course see that as a humanitarian rescue mission.

Tenerife and Gran Canaria head the 2 provinces that split the 7 Canary Islands for administration purposes, Tenerife province also includes La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hiero. Arguments have raged between the island rivals for years, and not just over football, everything from funding and status of the rival universites to beer have caused a polite exchange of views. CCC beer company have plants on both islands producing their range of beers but Tropical is seen as a Pio beer, whilst Dorada is proudly consumed by the Tenerife faithful.

 So prepare to repel the Pio overtures, drink your Dorada with pride and salute the Tenerife flag, bow down and worship Mount Teide and hang your Oscar Dominguez paintings on every wall. Maybe we should compose a new Tenerife anthem, I have always thought that Fog On the Tyne could be easily adapted, sing along  “the snow on Teide’s all mine all mine, the snow on Teide’s all mine…” Ooh i’m filling up.