Division and commotion in Azpeitia over the sculpture of a washerwoman

Division and commotion in Azpeitia over the sculpture of a washerwoman
Division and commotion in Azpeitia over the sculpture of a washerwoman

Concepts related to the way of representing the woman bodyrespect for artist creativitythe decision-making capacity of the government team, feminism and even the Michelangelo’s David were present in the final stretch of the full of the City Council of Azpeitia on Tuesday following a question from EAJ/PNV to the government team about the final destination of the sculpture Flag that the Azpeitiarra sculptor Josu Azkue wanted to give to the town of Azpeitia.

Despite its good will, the proposal It did not have the expected receptionsince the government team of EH Bildu He decided decline the gift considering that its typology “does not correspond to the image of the washerwomen of that time”, which was highly criticized by the Jeltzale formation.

Value quiet work

Flag It was one of the eight works selected Sormen Bekak 2023, an initiative promoted by the Azpeitia City Council with the aim of promoting different creative projects in the field of art. A jury made up of councilors from EH Bildu and EAJ-PNV, representatives of the Culture and Kulturaz area, valued Azkue’s proposal, which had as its purpose the execution of a black marble sculpture of Markina in life size that will represent and highlight the quiet work and often undervalued women.

View of the Azpeitia washerwoman sculpture that has caused so much commotion.

To do this, he took as reference the figure of the washerwoman, in memory of the neighbors of Azpeitia who left their homes loaded with the entire family’s clothes on their way to the public laundry to immerse their hands in its cold waters and clean them, both on the warm days of summer and in the harshest winter. In his proposal, the Azpeitiarra sculptor presented a model that advanced the final result, in addition to pointing out the public space that would give meaning to the work, the old laundry room attached to the parish of San Sebastián de Soreasu, something that in the end is not going to happen.

Two-meter marble sculpture

Over several months, the Azpeitiarra sculptor has been giving shape to the hard marble on a plot located in the Izarraitz neighborhood. The final result has been a sculpture of two meters that represents a young woman in a haughty position holding a basket on her head while looking directly at the observer in a posture that today we could define as empowerment.

EAJ-PNV considers that Flag not only vindicates the work of the women of Azpeitia but also responds to the letter for the purposes of Matazakan initiative of the Azpeitiarra City Council that wants to recover from oblivion and bring to light all that silenced work and little appreciated that it has carried throughout history.

In fact, through his spokesperson Hegoa Larzabal, he regretted that the refusal to receive the work is based on a mere assessment of the physical appearancewithout taking into account the artist’s creativity and asked EH Bildu to reconsider its position: “What is the image of Basque women? Today do we have to start valuing and classifying women by their physical appearance? In the history of art there is everything, and they are also the reflection and impression of the artists. The works do not have to be linked to realism. We thought that in the current City Council we would have overcome this situation. For all these reasons, we ask the City Council and the Municipal Government to ratify the commitment to the project that they chose and supported in the Sormen scholarships in order to be able to develop it in its entirety. More so, when we are talking about a work done by an Azpeitiarra.”

Woman stereotype

The Councilor for Culture, Aitor Larrañagawas in charge of defending the position of the government team of EH Bildu when rejecting the work and its placement in the laundry room, alleging reasons linked to the typology of the work itself as well as other technical reasons related to the Sormen scholarships and the obligations of the council. “We oppose the work being located in that space because we understand that the sculpture does not correspond to the image which would represent the women of Azpeitia who went to the laundry at the time it was used. On the other hand, the Azpeitia City Council has no obligation with the artists who make their works within the Sormen project. In their dossier they can state where they want to place the works, say that they want to sell them or anything else, but that does not obligate the City Council to do anything.”

“Feminism represents different bodies”

The Councilor for Equality, Miren Arrieta, also stressed the importance of valuing the role of women and vindicated the work carried out in that field. Matazaka project aimed at rescuing from I forget those quiet and relegated jobs to oblivion like the washerwoman that represents the work of Iosu Azkue. But this coincidence with the final objectives does not agree with the form that the author chose when materializing the work since, in Arrieta’s opinion, Flag responds to a stereotype of the female body far from what is defended by feminism. “Matazak began its journey in the last legislature with the objective of highlighting, taking to the streets and showing the work of women in public spaces. However the Feminism represents different faces, different bodies and different types of women, something that the sculpture we are talking about does not do,” said Arrieta.

The EAJ-PNV councilor, Jabier Altuna, considered the arguments of the EH Bildu councilors insufficient in a field as open to criticism as art. “Art is a very subjective field and more so if we talk about modern art, but what cannot be denied is that Azkue’s work is closely linked to the goals that Matazak pursues. Therefore, saying that she does not reflect the image of the woman of the time seems insufficient to us. With an argument of that type today we would not be able to enjoy the David of Michelangelo, since someone could claim that he is represented naked, when in reality it is possible to think that he would have been dressed when he faced Goliath.

The author of Azpeitia’s washerwoman: “I am tired of the controversy”

Josu Azkueauthor of the sculpture, does not hide his displeasure, to which is now added the viral impact that the news is having. “I’m tired of the commotion that has been created and seeing myself in the middle of it all. “I prefer not to make statements on this issue,” said the Azpeitiarra sculptor who gave the sculpture to the municipality with the intention that it be placed next to the old laundry annex to the parish of San Sebastián de Soreasu.

In fact, his project was chosen for the 2023 Sormen scholarships that promote creative projects and, in his proposal, where he already outlined a model of what it would become after the creative process, he claimed a work to value the quiet work of the women with the image of a washerwoman.

The proposal contemplated an exhibition starring the figure that would allow us to see the process of transformation of the block of black marble of 2,800 kilos in the laundress with the help of the photographs he has taken in the eight months that the illness has taken him. execution of the construction site. ”I don’t even know what to say; only that the figure does not fit through the door of the room that they have offered me,” he ended by saying. Azkue regarding the alternative offered by the EH Bildu Council, where after refusing to allow the sculpture to be exhibited in the street, they have offered to exhibit it in the Betharram room of the location.

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