Irantzu Lekue takes her “muralism for social transformation” to Iurreta with Gure emakumeak

  • Irantzu Lekue takes her “muralism for social transformation” to Iurreta with Gure emakumeak

The mural addresses the evolution of women’s work throughout history in an area that was “very derelict”

IURRETA the Basque artist and muralist Irantzu Lekue presented her latest project that addresses the work of women throughout history “a small tribute that enlightens women in different professions that we have developed throughout history,” she explains. The mural set was developed under the direction of the Basque artist by the ARTgia team -formed only by women- with the artists Alba Tojo, Rebeca Urizar and Beatriz Vicente. Among the four who  painted more than 130 square metres of  the wall within the #GoraBrotxak program

The mural Gure emakumeak represents “an exhaustive review of the work that women have developed, an exercise, a display for its visualization” where we can see, for example, “ centuries of washing clothes in the river  accompanied by donkeys ” Protagonism also “for the silversmiths of Iurreta and the shopkeepers with their stalls full of local produce.” A special mention to the  researchers in the world of medicine, students, women workers in the field and with new technologies such as the tractor and more towards the present time also reference to scientists, cyclists and “as a climax we  represented the dantzaris women who in recent years  are dancing some dances that until recently were only performed by men, ”explains Lekue, the 31 year old responsible for the ARTgia Gasteiztarra gallery, who added that“ we  specialized in developing these types of projects that combine art with citizen participation, gender perspective and the Basque language. Actions where we take art to the street”.

With a degree in Fine Arts, the four artists started the work ten days ago and finished it this morning. The project also involved young people from Iurreta. They have done so through workshops and dynamics created ad hoc to promote citizen participation. The student body of Maiztegi also participated, for example. “We set up a workshop of plastic paintings where the young people of Iurretarian proposed ideas to paint this project on women.”

From the City Council, who has supported this type of initiatives for years, they were very happy with the work being done on Dantzari Street. “With this mural we wanted to value the contribution and presence of women through the different stages in all areas of Iurreta society. All this  involving the children who have helped from the beginning with this beautiful mural that allows us to see the past and present of the municipality from a historical and gender perspective,” explained Iñaki Totorikaguena, mayor of the municipality.

United Nations

Irantzu Lekue explained that in Iurreta, “the idea of learning by doing was to put into practice. 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 center, Arantzazu Acha. “We have been working for a long time on social transformation together with different cultural and educational agents, supporting the creation of a new cultural ecosystem that values art for art and that also focuses on using it as a vehicle, as a tool. The visit to Geneva  meant a qualitative leap, a huge step forward in the definition of many projects, including that of murals for social transformation which we applied in Iurreta, reinforcing ties between the community and demonstrating that this model can be applied in cities like Bilbao, in small towns like Ubide – of just 170 inhabitants – or bigger towns  like Iurreta.

As she explains, “when we approach creative experiences our outlook changes and that influences how we look at the world; if we are more or less empathetic; if we are willing to understand other realities … ” Lekue also points out that ” to the extent that a person learns things, he also transmits them to third parties. And she adds that she wants to hear expert voices, voices that come from other realities and that value, in a context such as the United Nations, art and culture”. The artists and cultural managers Elssie Ansareo, Irene Basilio Intxausti, Irantzu Lekue, Leire Martínez, Jone Otero and Arrate Velasco went to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council where they present at the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.