BES: Our god, our inspiration
A symbol of fertility, patron of gestation and childbirth. He bestows good luck and, above all, provokes laughter and a cheerful disposition. He looks after all matters related with love, but is also associated with sex and libertine pleasures.
He is a grotesque god who makes people laugh, a buffoon among the deities who protects the island from malignant influences. He has the power to drive away snakes and other venomous creatures. He cures diseases. He is a funloving god who likes to party, the protector of the household, guarding sleep, joy, dance, and even personal hygiene and cleanliness! The god of music. It is said he played several instruments. His benevolent spirit made him more popular than any other deity! He is often pictured naked, with enormous genitals, a huge head, and a flat nose. He had a beard and wore a grown of upright feathers on his head. And he settled in Ibiza.
That’s Bes. A god worshiped by the ancient Egyptians who was an insatiable traveler and sailed across the Mediterranean with the Phoenicians, the Greeks, and the Carthaginians to reach the native coasts of Ibiza, where the Romans baptized the island in his honor: Ebusus, Ibossim, Yah-Bisah, Eivissa, Ibiza. Our god, our inspiration.
Erwin Broner: The great legacy
Architect and painter Erwin Broner was part of the upper-class Jewish bourgeoisie in the district of Charlottesburg, Germany. However, with the rise of national socialism, he embarked on a nomadic life until, in 1934, he arrived in Ibiza by pure chance. In 1960, Erwin found an empty lot in the neighborhood of sa Penya and started making plans to build his own house.
His design was very was much influenced by his studies in Germany, particularly of the Bauhaus, Le Corbusier, and Rationalism – streamlined shapes that meld perfectly with Ibiza’s traditional architecture. The Broner House was declared a Cultural Asset in 2010, and it is a crucial example of modern architecture in the Balearic archipelago. It has also become a major international museum. Broner is considered one of the most influential artists of the late 20th century.
He is credited with having introduced avant-garde art to Ibiza. He was an active participant in the island’s cultural life and a catalyst for citizens’ initiatives, having participated in the creation of the Ibiza 59 Group, an artists’ collective made up mostly of foreign emigrés who lived in Ibiza. Broner also pioneered the creation of Ibiza’s film club and was deeply involved in many of the cultural changes that took place in Ibiza during the 1960s.
Toni Marí ‘Frigoles’: Upholding Ibiza’s traditions
Toni Marí ‘Frigoles’ began working aged 11 as an apprentice potter in Can Planas, at a factory right near his house. “I liked the trade,” he admits. Today, 73 years later, he’s the only local ceramicist who can restore Carthaginian and Phoenician clay pieces, some over 600 years old. And he’s one of the pioneering craftsmen helping to keep the tradition of Ibicencan ceramics alive.
“Hard work will get you wherever you want to go,” he insists. “Hard work, effort and tenacity. This profession won’t make you rich, but it’s certainly gratifying.”
When plastic was introduced, “everything collapsed”, Frigoles recalls. There was a sharp drop in production. And yet, the doors to the tourism market were opened and artisans were able to salvage their craft by selling pieces made especially for visitors. “For me, success is seeing customers come back year after year, and seeing how they cherish my pieces. There is something wonderful about achieving what you had planned and being happy with it.”
And his inspiration? “My master, Daifa. I learned so much from him and, to this day, I feel his presence. He was like a father to me, a truly exemplary man. He taught me this beautiful craft.”
Ángeles Ferragut & Simon Southwood: Extraordinary people
For two years, Ibicencan Ángeles Ferragut and South African Simon Southwood have organised Ses Dotze Naus, a residency during which 12 contemporary artists from different backgrounds and disciplines live together on an estate in the interior of Ibiza, working on projects inspired by the island. Their objective is “to turn Ibiza into a fertile ground for contemporary art, exploring new formats and spreading ideas and knowledge”.
An intriguing cultural project, it was inspired by “a desire to surround ourselves with extraordinary, creative people and by our need to have fun”, smiles Ferragut. “We like to avoid talking about the future,” says Southwood. “We prefer to talk about what we’re doing, not about what we’re going to do. The best way to get a project moving is to simplify your idea and get to work.”
Plans for 2020 are simple: “Shaking up and educat- ing audiences. Finding a mechanism for participation and interaction between the local community and visitors that fosters cultural enrichment in Ibiza.” And their advice for anyone ready to devote their lives to art? “Differentiate yourself from the rest, never stop learning and keep getting excited.”