Northern Spain’s Vitoria-Gasteiz, home of the Basque parliament and capital of the Basque Country, is a green city, rich in natural areas. Recently, Spanish artist Manolo Mesa visited the Errekaleor neighborhood to paint a new mural titled “La Pagarra” (The Paste) that raises awareness of the struggles of this unique place.
“La Pagarra” is located in the rural Errekaleor neighborhood of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Basque Country in Northern Spain. Although the photos only show a glimpse of nature that surrounds the mural, the 25-acre stretch of land is a beautiful collective of gardens and crops. What also makes this community unique is that it’s self-managed and self-sufficient by students of Vitoria-Gasteiz campus of the University of the Basque Country.
Mesa often creates pictorials that elicit encounter and solitude, as we see in his new mural, of a soulful woman holding a basque ceramic pot. His straightforward image signifies a historic period of struggle during the Spanish Civil War. Women used basque pottery to transport water from sources to the village. The realistic figure, melancholy and sullen gives the viewer a brief look of what they endured. Basque pottery was the sole domestic object for families in their homes being a key element for survival.
The powerful concept depicting the area’s past also sheds awareness to the current issues faced by the community. Four months ago, in an effort to evict the 150 inhabitants and destroy the existing buildings to reconstruct new ones, local municipality and the police cut off their electrical resources. Visually, “La Pagarra” is pessimistic, but perhaps it also celebrates the strength of united, independent people defending against the greed and cruelty of the system.
About the Artist
Manolo Mesa is a Spanish artist born in Cadiz (Spain). As a graduate from the School of Fine Arts, his street-art combines his pictorial practice with his work of study. His artwork constitutes a metaphor of life; of encounter and solitude. An iconography about the absurdity of existence that goes beyond the physical to a symbolic image. It talks about the relationships of human beings with nature, and about the resistance to an increasingly diluted nature within the city. Mesa’s creations can be found all over the world, in cities like Paris, New York, Ahtopol (Bulgaria) and Puerto Sagunto (Valencia).