I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that it’s about time Deia had an all-embracing cultural festival to call its own. So, it’s wonderful to be looking forward to Deia 19 Festival de Las Artes, happening between 11-13 October.
Deia 19 Festival de Las Artes is the brainchild of Oona Lind Napier and Jackie Waldren. Keen readers of The Deia Olive Press will know that we’ve chatted with Oona and Jackie in the past, notably in August 2018 when they launched their book Deia Heydays. This unique book celebrates what Oona and Jackie describe as ‘a Golden Age of art, poetry, prose and music’ in Deia, a village whose name has become close to synonymous with art on Mallorca.
Oona first came to the village when she was seven years old. Her father, the Austrian-British writer Jakov Lind had followed his girlfriend, painter Annie Truxell, from New York to Deia.
Jackie, who arrived in Deia in 1959, is someone who has always actively taken part in village life, working towards a community where ‘Deianencs’, as the villagers are called, and incomers are integrated, and outsiders become insiders.
As Jackie told me, ‘Doing the Festival has made it very clear that, while my concept of insiders and outsiders was definitely relevant when I was writing my book, we’re now a community. This has been formed by the cultural life of the village, environmental issues and connecting on social media. So much in Deia is community-oriented now and that makes things very exciting.’
Now, with Deia 19 Festival de Las Artes, Oona and Jackie are looking forward as much as they’re celebrating the remarkable cultural heritage of Deia. As Oona put it when we spoke, ‘We’re encouraging new creatives rather than simply talking about nostalgia.’
Jackie added, ‘It was after we’d published the upgraded, extended Deya Heydays. We felt we wanted to do something that reflects today’s scene rather than always looking back to the past. Or, more accurately, we wanted to show how the past is feeding into the future. Because, of course, without the past there wouldn’t be a today. We must have started thinking about the festival around the end of 2018. It just seems to have become bigger and bigger.”
Explaining why she and Oona felt it was so important to look to the future of Deia, Jackie explained, ‘Every day I meet people who say I wish I could live in Deia and write or paint. But for new people to even come to visit the village, finding a place to stay for an extended period to do your art is very, very difficult. There’s a limited amount of space available at a reasonable price.”
Fortunately, the new Deia ajuntament – the council – has been extremely supportive of Deia 19 Festival de las Artes, as have two of the hotels serving the village, Belmond La Residencia and Es Moli. Es Moli is looking at setting aside a room for an artist or writer to come to Deia for a month, perhaps as a competition prize. Belmond La Residencia will host a poetry reading and a fashion show curated by ethical fashion designer Orsola de Castro who lives part of the year in Deia will take place on the beautiful hotel lawn.
Local residents and visitors to the village have also been extremely supportive.
Charles Marlow has always been keen to support the village art scene. The walls of our office are lined with work by local artists. Feel free to call in and take a look when our office is open. During the Festival, our office will be the venue for discussions of Deia art and culture in general.
We’ll be writing more about Deia 19 Festival de las Artes in a couple of weeks, giving you more of an idea of what you can expect. For now, you can check out the Festival website here.
Oona and Jackie asked me to say that they could really use volunteers to help the Festival run smoothly. If you or anyone you know would like to get involved, please contact Oona on +34 699712296.
Charles Marlow is proud to have donated to support the Festival. Join us and donate here.
If you’d like to wear a Katharine Hamnett-designed t-shirt to help celebrate the Festival, buy one or more here.