Africa Calling at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria's Casa África

A is for Arenales and Africa. For in the former, a central, mainly residential, district, you'll find Casa África. A working instituition set up to foster relationships between Spain and the African continent, it also houses gallery spaces featuring rolling art, photographic, and video exhibitions.

Built on sand

Casa África

Since moving to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in 2004, I've always lived in Arenales. It's a neighbourhood with a healthy local pride. One, though, which is a relatively modern addition to the city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

For Arenales translates as "sands". What are now businesses and houses used to be either part of the island's shoreline or submerged under the Atlantic Ocean. Not that the area is without its historic buildings.

Africa House

Casa África courtyard

One of the oldest buildings in Arenales is Casa África itself. It's also, along with the nearby Obelisco, one of the most distinctive structures in the barrio.As you can see, the interior (patio) is as elegant as the exterior. 

Although it only officially opened as its current incarnation in 2007. June12th 2007, to be precise. By royal appointment too. With the King and Queen of Spain joining Senegal's president Abdoulaye Wade at the official inauguration. 

A little bit of politics

Casa África exhibition photo

Casa África is a political organization. It's committed in continuing to wage the war against famine. As well as meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to ensure human rights are being respected, along with gender equality and environmental sustainability. 

In addition, Casa África is an academic institution. There are essay-writing competitions and schools in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria visit to find about the lives of pupils in Africa.

Guiding light exhibition photo

Casa África's opening hours for its three gallery spaces are from 10:00am to 6:30pm Monday to Friday. Entry is free and it feels like you've transported to Africa without having to shell out for the airfare.

Like all of Africa House's exhibitions, Á is there to highlight what Mother Africa can teach the West. There's plenty of light in the Dark Continent. A point emphasized by my tour guide, Joan Tusell Prats, the head of communications who's determined to make Africa a good-news story rather than a bad-news one.