Ibiza holidays

Uncharted territory – Territori Ibiza Performance Art Festival

Ibiza transforms into a living canvas for an enthralling 10-day performance art festival this September.

Territori Ibiza is an annual performance art festival designed to celebrate the island's essence, landscape, and local communities. This gathering of world-renowned artists for ten packed days of immersive creativity is a highlight of Ibiza’s cultural calendar.

Words: Abby Lowe

Ibiza has served as muse for countless art forms across as many centuries — there is something about the island’s unique character that fits into creative souls like a jigsaw piece, inspiring ceaseless ingenuity and artistic transformation. From September 15 through to the 24, 2023, the island becomes the backdrop and inspiration for Territori Ibiza International Performance Art Festival where a series of performances, workshops, talks and exhibitions are hosted by local and international artists posing the question: does performance exist without an audience? 

Founded in 2020 by Isa Sanz, who was curating for the International Festival of Theatre and Street Arts in Valladolid when the idea first came to her, Territori Ibiza is a cultural event committed to live and action-based artistic expression. Taking place at various locations across the island over 10 days — from urban spaces to rural outcrops and bustling art galleries — it offers an inclusive environment for a diverse array of emerging and established artists to confront and explore pertinent cultural themes through creative communication, with audience participation acting as an important pillar of the experience. 

Over 25 artists and speakers have been invited to participate across the multi-platform Territori Ibiza programme, with Raíz y Vanguardia (Roots and Vanguard) serving as the central theme. Each performance has distinct merits and artists to look out for include pioneers of the scene such as Nieves Correa from Spain, who has performed at festivals all over the world since the 80s, and Roi Varra from Finland, who is renowned for his visual and physical performances that bind site and situation to poetry. Abel Azcona is another figure of note, whose powerful, autobiographical work leaves a deep, lasting impression. He will also be hosting an exclusive masterclass. Local creator, Joanna Hruby – whose work with local folklore is well-known across Ibiza and beyond – joins the stable of brilliant artists. 

Every year, Territori Ibiza’s organisers extend an open call to artists born or residing in the Balearic Islands to engage with a particular motif or idea. For 2023, the Mediterranean Sea served as the central concept for the selected artists (three from Ibiza; and one from Formentera, and Mallorca Menorca respectively), resulting in a kaleidoscopic spectrum of responses that have each reacted to the stimulus differently. Scholarships and grants are also offered to local creatives and those from further afield who demonstrate a propensity for performance art, with the subsequent pieces converging in a public exhibition.

In previous years, the festival burrowed into ideas surrounding Ibiza’s natural landscape and heritage sites, plunging the audience into local history and myth. And while the themes of this year’s Territori Ibiza vary, the resistance between the island’s reputation as an avant-garde destination and ingrained local identity rests at the fore. Throughout this questioning, Ibiza itself is a constant presence, on occasion even taking centre stage as a complex character that artists interact with and respond to over the seconds, minutes and hours of their performance. 

Just like Ibiza, performance art is ephemeral by nature and invites the audience to set aside thoughts of the past and future in favour of the present moment. Each staging comes alive at a specific time and place — with the potential for infinite outcomes — which means every member of the Territori Ibiza crowd holds the power to influence what unfurls. Such a poignant connection between artist and viewer roots every element to the here and now, creating an unrepeatable explosion of thoughts and actions that might be examined later through photos and videos, but will never again exude the same intensity.

More than just a festival, Territori Ibiza is a commitment to nurturing the local artistic community by celebrating the island’s landscapes and residents and encouraging insightful dialogues on pressing topics. This dynamic event not only enriches Ibiza’s art scene but also offers a fresh perspective, casting the island in an illuminating and transformative light.