Irantzu Lekue takes her “muralism for social transformation” to Ali with “Kakiturri”

The opening ceremony served as a tribute to Gregoria “Goya” Fernández de Landa and Maritxu Paiueta “for their contribution to the people.” Both are centre stage  in the mural.

The name Kakiturri comes from the state in which the space was in before the project

The GASTEIZ Basque artist and muralist Irantzu Lekue presented her latest project in the Plaza de Ali – Ehari. In the heart of the town with two gastronomic societies, a bowling alley and a surrounding landscape by “eras y portegaus”, part of the iconic Alava landscape. The years, on the other hand, have changed the environment and what were once “pieces of land involving lots of work” have become huge buildings of histrionic architecture, explains Joaquín Landa, neighbor of Ali “town”. One of those pieces is the one with the cows of Goya Fernández de Landa. “They walked until late, where there were open fields,”. In the 90s, the crisis and European laws forced most of the territory’s dairy farms to close. Goya Fernández de Landa was precisely one of those honoured at the opening ceremony of this new project by Irantzu Lekue. Along with her, Maritxu Paiueta were honored as “founder of the Women’s Day of the People,” says Andoni Gomez, “Tazo.”

Paiueta and Fernández de Landa share prominence in a 15-metre mural in the town of Ali. “It is curious the feeling of belonging that exists here, to the roots, to the people. In the participatory process, 95% of the contributions revolved around their traditions and values. Basically, I think it is an exercise in collective memory. To know where the town comes from in order to define where it is going. Naomi Klein said that you have to go to the roots, meet them, place yourself on the map. That is precisely what the people of Ehari decided to do,” explains muralist Irantzu Lekue. The work together with the ARTgia team -made up of only women- with the artists Alba Tojo and Rebeca Urizar. Together the three painted this huge wall within the #GoraBrotxak program with the help of the Youth program of the City of Vitoria – Gasteiz. “We are specialized in developing this type of project that combine art with citizen participation, gender perspective and the Basque language. Actions where we take art to the street,” says Lekue.

It is the first time a mural had been developed in the town of Ali. “The wall was very ugly. It was sad. It has been sanitized, painted and has greatly improved the image when entering the town. I am very happy,” explains Angel Zabala, a resident from Ali. A similar opinion is expressed by Virginia Expósito who underlines “the great work of the artists and the result is what we wanted. They have shaped our ideas, our people on a wall that was derelict, covered in graffiti and turned a non-place into a very nice place ”“ All this also involving the children who  helped in the beginnings of a beautiful mural that  allows us to see with a historical and gender perspective the past and present of the municipality ”, adds Andoni Gomez“ Tazo ”, mayor of Ali.

United Nations

Irantzu Lekue explained that in Ali, “the idea put into practice the concept of learning by doing. Internalize the concept while the action is taking place,” she emphasizes. “We have implemented our citizen participation techniques and our commitment to improve not only aesthetics but also social environments, building bridges and using art as a vehicle for social transformation, “she emphasizes. Irantzu Lekue explains that she developed these concepts using the experience “and level of conceptualization” acquired in March in Geneva, during her stay at the United Nations headquarters with Unesco Etxea.

There were six Basque artists accompanied by the director of the centre, Arantzazu Acha. “We have been working for a long time on social transformation with different cultural and educational agents, focusing on creating a new cultural ecosystem that values art for art and that also on using it as a vehicle, as a tool. The visit to  Geneva has meant a qualitative leap, a huge step forward in the definition of many projects, including that of murals for social transformation and that is what we applied in Ali, reinforcing ties between the community and demonstrating that this model can be applied in cities such as Bilbao, in small towns such as Ubide – of just 170 inhabitants – or a town converted into a neighbourhood and surrounded by huge buildings where people arrive from all corners of the planet.