A Green Christmas on Tenerife

Fri, December 20th, 2013 - By Colin

It’s that time of year when nativity scenes pop up all around Tenerife, these traditional belens focus on the familiar story of the baby Jesus and the three wise men but in Santa Cruz they have a very different interpretation.




A winter scene with jolly snowmen was the first thing that greeted me on entering Artbelen 2013 at Centro de Arte La Recova but on closer inspection these white figures turned out to be green, the four scenes represent the seasons of the year and are made entirely out of recycled rubbish. The snowmen were made of plastic wrapping, their log cabin was pieced together from cardboard boxes and even the snowflakes were made from compacted paper.

The exhibition is the creation of two art students, Carmen Gloria Martín Afonso y Esther Lidia Rodríguez Suárez and they have been pretty busy turning waste into an enchanting wonderland of creatures. If you look close enough there are 7,000 plastic bottle tops, 3,000 bottles, 2,500 tetra bricks, and 300 square metres each of cardboard and paper.




Spring was next on my trip around the large hall. This was represented by giant flowers framing a small island, the slatted bridge across to the cork made beach was being crossed by the three kings in plant pot form, each scene has subtle influences from more traditional belen designs. The large spider was particularly striking, quite a few slurps of fruit juice had been needed to empty the cartons that formed its colourful body.




Summer had a tropical flavour with a mermaid couple on a desert island as sea horses danced nearby. It was another quite surreal sight, and a world away from the frantic Christmas shoppers around the capital and the evening chill out crowd in La Noria a few steps away. Real life only interrupted my thoughts as the ping of the La Laguna tram bell rang out in the distance.


Tree people


And so to Autumn and the most impressive of all the scenes, a forest of brown, brooding trees complete with trailing roots. They looked as though they were about to talk at any moment, the small children visiting seemed more enchanted though rather than spooked. It’s not what you would expect to find among the cheery grottos and smiling Santa’s in the shopping centers of Playa de Las Americas and Costa Adeje but it’s just the sort of flight of fancy that captures the imagination.

Posted : Friday, December 20th, 2013 at 11:25 am
Category : days out
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