The basque contemporary artist Irantzu Lekue paints the Temps de Dones mural for La CIBA
A pioneer building that the City Council of Santa Coloma de Gramenet will allocate to equality policies, innovation and the feminist economy
During the first week of June, the Basque artist Irantzu Lekue, will finalize her new participatory mural for the social transformation Temps de Dones, another step in the construction of La CIBA, an emblematic building, of more than 6,000 square meters, which, driven by the City Council of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, it will become municipal equipment to be destined to gender policies, innovation and feminist economics. Its implementation is scheduled for next September.
Irantzu Lekue is a young and renowned Basque artist who works with social art, conceptual art, artivism and art accessible through artistic installations, video art, painting and sculpture. His works reflect on art and memory, on social injustices and the importance of educating based on multiple intelligences. His work challenges and opens participatory processes to society, awakening his capacity for reflection on various problems and proposing alternatives to the most current social injustices.
For the realization of this project, Irantzu Lekue has had the participation of the Consell de Dones de Santa Coloma de Gramenet, the women’s and feminist groups and a representation of the city’s high school students. The participation of these groups has been especially noticeable in the definition and achievement of the elements that make up the Temps de Dones mural, which will occupy a large part of the central facade of the CIBA, collecting in its proposal both the history of feminist struggles in the city as to the local and international feminist referents, such as Clara Campoamor. The mural is an allegory of the conquest of women’s rights and freedoms.
The mural of Irantzu Lekue is another step in the transformation of La CIBA, which the neighbors and neighbors of Santa Coloma can begin to enjoy months before the emblematic building opens its doors and starts up all its spaces, resources and projects for the social and economic empowerment of women.
Irantzu Lekue has developed during his professional career a very important work of muralism for social transformation, creating vindictive murals through participatory processes that occupy public space and generate a direct impact on the community that welcomes them, challenging it both from ideas and from The creativity of the artist.
It is for this reason that the City Council of Santa Coloma de Gramenet contacted her to devise and carry out in a participatory way a large mural of 125 square meters for the CIBA building, a unique and pioneering space throughout the country for the development of the equality, gender policies, innovation and the feminist economy that, starting next September, will open its doors, becoming a reference space at European level.
The title of the Irantzu Lekue mural for CIBA is Temps de Dones, a nod to the song “Les temps des cerises” and the Paris Commune, in the words of the artist ‘In the light that comes and will come’. The axes of the project have been citizen participation and social transformation, with the common thread of art, gender and the milestones of women in Santa Coloma de Gramenet.
The participatory process for the creation of the mural began with an artistic translation of the ideas that came out of the three participatory days with the Consell de Dones de Santa Coloma de Gramenet, from which the conceptual and pictorial elements that the artist has incorporated in the mural. Through these elements Temps de Dones affects the visibility of women, their legacy and their transmission from generation to generation.
In the mural, feminist references such as Clara Campoamor, Ngozi Adichie, Chimamanda, Malala Yousaszai and Rosa Naybillinghust are represented, as well as historical sites and moments of the city and its women; like the old agrarian fields of strawberries and vineyards, the history of the kidnapping of buses in the neighborhood of Les Oliveres, in which the women had a great role, to demand their arrival in the city, or the old walkway next to the Molinet bridge that It united Santa Coloma with the capital, also symbolizing the path that women have to go to achieve a true fair and equal society. The composition of the mural symbolizes an open door, ‘because CIBA will be an open door, for those who are going through a bad time and for those who are a reference, weaving a network between them‘. In the execution of the mural, the participatory process has been reopened, including women and other groups, so that the community contributes to make the work a reality and make it their own.
The muralism for social transformation is the soul of the Temps de Dones project by Irantzu Lekue for CIBA, which starts by considering what can be contributed from art to improve the environment in which we live. In Lekue’s words, ‘We understood that we could embellish it and that in a society that tends to individuality, to make communities cooler and more distant, from our scope, we could contribute something positive. Our bet is threefold: we want to live in more beautiful places that invite us to feel full; we want to weave networks between people, to establish new ties that reinforce the feeling of belonging and community; and, finally, we want to expand the artistic experience while sowing values that change the world like feminism. What changes in a person when he creates a collective for the first time? What does it mean for people to participate in a huge work that they will see every day from the bus or the street? What changes when they know they are part of that great work that has improved their environment? What changes when we give a place a feminist story about its history that has been made invisible? Our commitment is to improve aesthetic environments but also socially, creating bridges and using art as a vehicle for social transformation ‘.
In Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Irantzu Lekue has fallen in love with the stories of social struggles, where women have always played a key role, and has seen and lived the union between women’s groups and interest because the CIBA community project go ahead. For her, CIBA is an exciting, innovative project that has everything to become a reference for other places, a great compass that many people and many policies will begin to look at. With his mural process, he wanted to represent what the CIBA implies, sowing references and creating a map that serves for the future empowerment of women, showing their strength and determination.
In the space of the former Ciba factory in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, it will open its doors in September, a reference center of resources for women, innovation and feminist economics. CIBA will be a unique public facility in Spain, a hub or core of knowledge specialized in gender equality and contemporary feminisms. The CIBA is one of the major recent projects of the City of Santa Coloma de Gramenet that will make an investment of 3 million euros for this center, with support for its financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The CIBA is located in the building that was the emblematic factory of chemical and pharmaceutical products Ciba-Geigy, which is being rehabilitated following environmental sustainability criteria and retaining its industrial and historical exterior appearance so that it remains the traditional facade of welcome to the city , in one of the entrances to it, next to the old Santa Coloma bridge. The rehabilitated equipment will offer 6,000 m2 of new facilities and services for citizens, aimed at improving women’s opportunities, combating female unemployment in the city and launching projects and initiatives that help promote gender equality through innovation, social, solidarity and feminist economy.
The new equipment has two objectives: the empowerment of women in all areas of life and the improvement of the conditions of occupability of women. The CIBA will also be a space dedicated to the growth of proposals in the field of social and solidarity economy and the incorporation of the gender perspective in a new economic model that is more just, solidary and respectful of the environment.
The CIBA will house the Information and Resource Center for Women, the Documentation Center and the Women’s Historical Memory Center and the Training Area in the field of feminism. It will also have the Gender Lab, a laboratory to host and promote new initiatives in gender policies and particularly in the prevention and approach of sexist violence, and a nursery for women’s entities. It will also offer spaces for creation and support in social economy, solidarity and feminist projects, spaces for innovation with coworking rooms, creation workshops, laboratory for training and digital manufacturing or Fab-Lab, etc. and also common spaces for shared use such as restaurant, auditorium, exhibition space, meeting rooms, garden, playground and garden on the roof.
The project was presented in January 2018 by the mayor of the city, Núria Parlón, who explained that CIBA wants to contribute to give back to the women who have preceded us the enormous effort that, silently but tenaciously and throughout many generations have done to build the neighborhoods of our city, leading the majority of the struggles to achieve collective improvements. The young generations of women will have a space full of resources to put at their disposal opportunities that allow them to build themselves in their future in an equal way. It will be at the same time our tribute to our predecessors and our legacy to those who will come to continue our struggles ‘.
The City of Santa Coloma de Gramenet will invest 2,950,000 euros in the CIBA project. Some 2.2 million are for architectural rehabilitation and 750,000 euros, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the commissioning of the equipment.
The purpose of the City Council is for CIBA to be part of the European network of centers that work in different cities in a coordinated way to improve the quality of life of women. This unique project in Spain is inspired by pioneer centers in countries such as Greece, the United States and Canada.