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The Basque Country is increasingly renowned for art, being home to world-class museums such as Bilbao’s Guggenheim, ARTIUM in Vitoria-Gasteiz and famous artists such as Eduardo Chillida. With more and more artistic talent emerging in the region, here are six Basque artists to watch.
From the city of Bilbao, Ana Laura Aláez is a contemporary artist who describes herself as an ‘architect of emotions’. Although predominantly known for her photography, she also creates captivating modern art installations such as the one below, exhibited at the Caixa Forum in Seville. Her work has already been showcased in several exhibitions across Europe and she has presented solo exhibitions in the last few years, becoming a recognised name across Spain.
Born in the small town of Hernani in the Guipúzcoa region of the Basque Country, Azucena Vieites is a contemporary artist who creates works that comment on social behaviour from a feminist point of view. She established a feminist arts group with other Basque artists such as Estíbaliz Sádaba and was also awarded the Gure Artea Prize from the Basque Government in 2004. Mainly exhibited within the Basque Country thus far, her art has also featured at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. Watch this space to see where she’ll be going next…
Born in the city of Pamplona in 1985, Leire Urbeltz is an illustrator who has contributed to several books for children and young people. She has worked with authors such as Castillo Suarez, Jose Martin Elexpuru and Itziar Madina, using a very distinct style of light pastel shades and fantastical characters. Urbeltz has also already enjoyed two solo exhibitions – one at the Canvas gallery in Pamplona and the other at the Bilbao Art Foundation – and runs regular workshops to teach illustration to both children and adults.
A sculptor from Pamplona, Javier Soto Nantes works with alabaster and light to create almost magical, glowing works of art. Utilising angles, shadows and space, his works all have a unifying theme. He has showcased his sculptures in many exhibitions in his hometown of Pamplona and has also had his artwork exhibited in Bilbao and Madrid. More recently, his work has been introduced to Europe in cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Berlin and London.
An artist and graphic designer, Iñaki Larrimbe is from the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz and describes himself and as a ‘cultural activist and creator’. His work follows themes such as ‘unofficial tourism’ or ‘rare tourism’ in a satirical or humorous way. One of his recent and most important pieces of work is a reflection on cultural tourism and the role of museums in our society, which was entitled ‘Fair’, being exhibited at the Museo ARTIUM in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Larrimbe’s art has also been displayed in Madrid, Argentina and Colombia.
Born in Vitoria-Gasteiz in 1987, Irantzu Lekue is a contemporary artist who studied fine arts, photography and creative media production, as well as imagery and sound. Her works surround themes of social awareness and issues such as climate change, justice, gender and race. Lekue produces various types of art, from installations and paintings to videos and sculptures. Her works have been shown in many collective exhibitions in Granada, Valladolid, Madrid and Bilbao, one of her large installations being shown as part of the European Capital of Culture in San Sebastián last year. We believe it won’t be long before she’s exhibiting across Europe.