Playa de las Cucharas is Costa Teguise’s largest beach, a 650-metre stretch of toasted, golden sand sheltered by a large bay and is guarded by a strange, unmissable sculpture that can be seen by everyone in the area.
It is widely assumed that this landmark sculpture is the work of César Manrique. That would be understandable, given the artist’s involvement in the development of the Costa Teguise. The sculpture also bears a passing resemblance to Manrique’s abstract iron forms and the geometrical shapes he worked with towards the end of his life.
However, the sculpture was actually installed in 1987 and is the work of the Tenerife-born artist José Abad, who created it at the invitation of Ildefonso Aguilar. Since Manrique’s death in 1992, Aguilar is probably Lanzarote’s most prominent living artist, a tireless creator of visual and musical landscapes.
The title of the sculpture is Los Juguetes de Erjos (The Toys of Erjos), and it features three abstract forms made of iron. Two of these pieces reach a height of 15 metres, dominating the view of the bay from Playa las Cucharas. The sculptures have overlooked the passage of millions of holiday-makers and are an iconic symbol of the best windsurfing area on Lanzarote.
Los Juguetes de Erjos were part of a series of sculptures installed in the late 80s, which also included a work by New York-based artist Raúl Farco. Another sculpture in basalt and iron, this work has been worn away by the wind and waves until only its base remains on the rocks near the pier.
It’s also evident that constant salt spray and wind is having a detrimental effect on the Juguetes de Erjos. Yet for the time being they remain, enigmatic sentinels of sea and surf.