CACT Lanzarote, the jewel in the artistic and architectural crown of the island, celebrated its 50th anniversary with an event that took place in the Jameos del Agua Auditorium. The spirit of César Manrique, father and creator of these works of extraordinary beauty, filled the atmosphere on this unforgettable night, where the Jameos del Agua Auditorium, almost full to the brim, shone more brightly than ever. About 500 people came for the Centres’ 50th birthday celebrations.
The professor of Art history at the University of La Laguna, Fernando Castro Borrego, was responsible for opening the proceedings, providing a commentary on the character of the creator of the Centres. Under the general title ‘César Manrique: aesthetics and tourism’, Castro Borrego sketched out a portrait of the artist, embarking from the hypothetical scenario that would have occurred if César Manrique had not returned to the island from New York, and the relationships that he later established with the main artistic giants of the archipelago in search of his aesthetic ideology. Art, culture, politics and economics were brought together in a fascinating conference that concluded with the motto that moved the artist throughout his life: “to achieve the balance and harmony between civilization and nature.”
Later on came one of the great surprises of the night, the projection of an interview with César Manrique by journalist Mathias Allary in 1990. César Manrique was full of life and enthusiasm, explaining to the journalist the basis of his vision for Lanzarote and its art and culture, among other things. Thoughts, images, many of which were previously unpublished, overlayed with the music of Ale Acosta to give voice to the philosophy of life of the man who started it all.
Pedro San Ginés. president of the Cabildo of Lanzarote, who requested the license of those who have gone before him since 1966, “to give voice today to his thoughts”, he confessed to feeling “anxious and enthusiastic, responsible and proud, happy and excited” with the celebration of “Half a century having passed since a visionary went into the bowels of this island to give it life and colour, where other mortals saw merely desolation, black and ochre. A revolution” he recalled, “started from the bleak wasteland and degraded spaces that illuminated a new collective consciousness in a society that was, until then, depressed “.
San Ginés described the role of the Centres as “unquestionable” in the evolution of the island, convinced that “they are true sanctuaries of a way of thinking, feeling and way of intervening in the natural environment. “César Manrique” he underlined, “planted the seed of a new way of thinking and acting that turned into the banner of a generation and a slogan for the international projection of a new island, arising from his blueprints.”
Key for the future, the president pointed out that “the Centres look forward, unafraid, to their present and future challenges from the support provided by the millions of people who visit them each year.” One of the challenges cited by the Atlantic Museum, “a project that drinks from the Art-Nature binomial philosophy, and which will officially open its doors next January to help strengthen the position of this destination in the fierce international tourism market” was the Reorganization of the visit to the Mountains of Fire, “which will save time, effort and waiting times for those who come to discover the stunning centre in the south of the island” and “the next intervention in Jameos del Agua, a project that rescues the essence of Manrique’s original design and recovers underutilized infrastructures to host a more versatile and modern Casa de los Volcanes, which will leave its current space to become a new restaurant, that can serve the needs of tourists and customers, from both Jameos del Agua and Auditorium, without distorting the visit to the volcanic tube”.
The president ended his speech by giving “eternal” thanks to Cesar Manrique, “the creator of a work that transformed our society, and taught us to dream, and that dreams, with effort and perseverance, can come true.”
For the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Fernando Clavijo “the Centres of Art, Culture and Tourism are the clearest example of the ability of our land to value its landscape and turn it into a tourist attraction without endangering its essence. These are places that allow us to understand beyond the landscape, beyond the conditions of our territory or our culture, what we are as a people. These are sites that allow the visitor to interact with the environment and become part of it. Open and dynamic spaces that help us to understand this island and demonstrate the reasons that led UNESCO to declare the Lanzarote a Biosphere Reserve in 1993.” Clavijo stressed that the Centres are also “key to understanding the island economy, as they have contributed to the economic, social and cultural development of the island, and they” most evident example of the synergies between tourism and culture, the immense capacities of two sectors that have demonstrated that they are not only able to live together but to support themselves and generate progress and wealth.”
The celebration could not be concluded without the symbolic recognition of a group of retired CACT Lanzarote workers by the regional and island authorities.
The evening was capped off with “Skins. Song to work”, an interesting multidisciplinary offering that, from the heterogeneous language, presents itself as a song to work in the Canary Islands with a special recognition to the work that, from a long ago, was performed by the woman. A show that fuses fusion and passion, dreams of the Canaries and classic sounds, to give life to the skins of our mothers, our grandmothers, who exude effort, dedication and love.
When it was finished, cocktails were served in the pool while our DJ and collaborator Javier San Juan spun the sounds of 50 years ago, with a collection of original LP records, when the world’s best outdoor dancefloor was premièred in Jameos del Agua.