Where to see extraordinary creativity

Some of our favourite artists and architects

We jubilados (Spanish for retirees) are constantly on the lookout for art: in galleries, on the street and in the wild

The sun and the movement of the earth—the oldest phenomena our naked eyes can see.

Imagine an artist whose life’s quest is to show us that phenomena.

An artist who wants us to be “a little more aware than you were the day before of how beautiful the world is.”

That artist is Robert Irwin.

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As Sawjhar

We didn’t know we’d be going to the “Most Improbable Village in Oman.”

After camping for several nights in Hannibal, the name we gave to the rooftop tent on the Land Cruiser we’d rented, our plan was to drive up to the Sayq Plateau and luxuriate for two nights at the Sahab Hotel (A real bed! A hot shower!) and hike the “Rose Walk Between Four Villages.”

It was Fenny at the Sahab Hotel who told us about As Sawjhar, the Omani village where people still live in caves.

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Mixtecs, indigenous Mexicans, have been in the news lately. Half a millennium ago around February 18, 1519, Cortés and his crew landed at Cozumel. Mexico’s new president announced he’s going to improve relationship with the Mixtecs. Yalitza Aparicio, the lead actress in the movie Roma, is Mixtec. And a recent article in the Globe and Mail talked about the resurgence of ulama, an ancient Mayan ball game. All of which reminded Magellan and me of our trip to Cobá, one of the oldest indigenous settlements on the Yucatán Peninsula.

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“You’ve got to come hear this,” I said, phoning Magellan and asking him to meet me at the Power Plant to hear Forty Part Motet as soon as his meeting was over. I was happy to spend an extra hour listening to the art (yes, listening) until he arrived.

It was in Toronto in 2004, the first time we experienced the work of Janet Cardiff and her partner in life and art, Georges Bures Miller—I’ll tell you more about our jubilado experience with their art in a minute.

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Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system… Marshall McLuhan


In the Chihuahua Desert the light is intense, the silence severe. The landscape planes, stretches horizontal, on, and on, and on, into a thin horizon line penciled above the empty plains. El Despoblado, The Uninhabited, is the name of the distant hills. Having left the small town of Marfa in West Texas, we’d driven thirty-six miles to see Prada Marfa, which sits, alone, unsigned, off US Highway 90.

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A week ago we wrote about the Valle dei Templi in Sicily’s Agrigento region.

Expecting to be awed by the grandeur of its Classical Greek temples, instead we came away feeling a bit “meh.”

The next day we headed back to the Museo Archeologico, (it had been closed the day before as you may recall from Part 1), known to hold “some of the best preserved pieces of Greek art and architecture that exist outside of Greece.”

“Would our feelings about Akragas change?” we wondered.

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