Ubide hosts the latest Irantzu Lekue project: a mural for integrating a community

A third of the small town of Ubide, fifty of the 174 neighbours, participated in this project for the social transformation of the muralist Irantzu Lekue.

The work was created on the 6´ or “six cousin” a ventilation pit on the canal that joins the Legutio reservoir with the Undurraga reservoir

UBIDE. It took the residents of the town of  Ubide three weeks to create a mural on the 6´ or “Six cousin” ventilation area under the canal that joins the Legutio reservoir with the Undurraga reservoir, under the supervision of the Gasteiztarra artist Irantzu Lekue.  According to Agurtzane Bengoa Abasolo, Town Hall technician, “the building that covers the well had been covered by weeds for years and since it was one of the first constructions to be seen when entering the town we wanted to turn it into a transmitter of values, a new welcome to the town of  Ubide ”. As she explains, there are many people who, weekend after weekend, come to this small town located on the border between Araba and Bizkaia “to climb the Gorbea mountain,  or walk through the beech forests of Satzipeta or Motxotegi. And we wanted to improve the appearance of the entrance, but through citizen participation, with all the residents of the town of Ubide,” she explains.


The muralist Irantzu Lekue explains that “the project was very well received from the beginning and we are very happy with everything we experienced.” It highlights the participation data since one in three inhabitants of the town participated. “not only the children, but also elderly people, young people…” That is why she thanked the people of Ubide for their involvement. The participatory process of this new mural for social transformation began with an artistic translation of the ideas that came out in the three participatory days when the process began. From this emanated pictorial elements that the artist incorporated “the local coal tradition, the link  water and  mountains, the enormous beech trees that presides over the main wall, the ancient images of the town or the hens of Kepa,  or a local child ”

The axes of this initiative, promoted by the City Council of Ubide, were precisely citizen participation and social transformation. With the common thread of art, the Basque language, gender and traditions. Lekue’s muralism aims to improve the world, inside and out. And also, to create and connect communities.

United Nations

As she explained, “the idea was to put into practice the concept of learning by acting. Internalize the concept while the action is taking place,” she emphasizes. “We implemented our citizen participation techniques and our commitment to improve not only the aesthetics but also social environments, creating bridges and using art as a vehicle for social transformation,” she explains. Irantzu Lekue stresses that she developed these concepts using her experience “and level of conceptualization” acquired in March in Geneva, during her stay at the United Nations headquarters alongside Unesco Etxea, where six Basque artists attended 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 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 and that is what we  applied in the town of  Ubide, reinforcing ties between the community and demonstrating that this model can be applied in cities and small towns. 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 this out ” 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 values, in a context like 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 visited Geneva. They attended the UN Human Rights Council where they were present at the 37th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.