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Bilbao Art District 2019

02 - 12 May 2019


Bilbao Art District (BiAD) is an initiative promoted by Bilbao City Council, through Bilbao Ekintza. The aim is to give value to and support the activity it develops from the city’s artistic and cultural network, and to foster its competitiveness as a strategic element in its development and projection towards the future. The project assumes a special nature as it is a public and private collaboration, in which different representatives from the city’s visual arts world participate together. These include Bilbao Arte, art producers, galleries, and the Faculty of Fine Arts of the UPV-EHU.)

Although the project continues throughout the year, a special programme involving the city’s arts and cultural sector is being held in May, and is open to the public.

Focus on Visual Arts

The BiAD 2019 edition will focus on reflecting on, fostering and asserting the value (economic, social, cultural…) generated by the visual arts. As part of an evolving process with interlinked crises, BiAD 2019 aims to raise awareness of these values as an essential asset for generating areas of shared experience in the city and for encouraging and promoting experimentation, imagination and investigation as a creative, productive and innovative force.

Bilbao is defined as a city of values. Historically, visual arts have placed a decisive role in moments of crisis for envisaging a new sensitivity, fulfilling a function of experimental innovation, then spreading to all areas, both social and economic. As a result, they not only represent a cultural value but are also a driving force for integral development.

Economy and culture are concepts that cannot be appreciated as if referring to independent closed spheres. Artistic creation is far more than a cultural asset: it is our way of being represented and of representing ourselves, a means of expression and communication, and a specific form of knowledge which directly influences thought, individual and collective development, and the creation of wealth.

This edition of Bilbao Art District 2019 aims to specify and take a closer look at the value of art in this multiple dimension.

In this respect, initiatives have been chosen that continue after May and that, in some way, help to improve the competitiveness of the sector, such as its internationalisation or communication. To achieve this goal, in addition to the curatorships of artist MawaTres and researcher Andrea Estankona, the initiative has had the collaboration of three strategic partners: These are the Faculty of Fine Arts of the UPV-EHU, Bilbao Arte and Azkuna Zentroa-Alhóndiga Bilbao, as well as the participation of more than 25 representatives from the city’s visual arts world.


Two examples of projects which have this effect on the economic development include “What are the artists thinking about? South-south-north dialogues to turn the world around” by Saray Pérez Castilla and Miriam Rodríguez Morán, and “LUTITEKA” by Tunipanea. The former is a continuation of a dialogue already started, which seeks the internationalisation of the project, while also taking it to the public through a graphic display which will be exhibited on La Merced and La Ribera bridges, in combination with a series of talks to be held at the Sala Rekalde on 8 May. LUTITEKA is the pilot test of a project that has been nine years in the making, and which aims to test whether it would be feasible to introduce it continuously. There will be a display of more than 100 experimental musical instruments created by the artist Tunipanea. Many of these are made from recycled materials found in the streets of Bilbao; thus the value of the project lies in the opportunity for the public to borrow an instrument or take part in a creative workshop; at the same time, other artists will give a live performance of experimental pieces of music created from these instruments.

The “Meetings between curators and artists” has been set up along the same lines and is part of the collaboration between Bilbao Art District and BilbaoArte. These are considered as seminars which contribute to the professional development of the artists of Bilbao, based on portfolio presentations and visits to studios; and with a public presentation which will discuss this edition’s theme, the values generated by artistic practices from the perspective of curatorship. In addition, the “We need to create contexts to think differently” seminars stemmimg from collaboration with Azkuna Zentroa-Alhóndiga Bilbao, are considered as a day of critical thinking, reflection and discussion about the values of artistic practices. BiAD 2019 aims to raise awareness of these values as an essential asset for generating areas of shared experience in the city and for encouraging and promoting experimentation, imagination and investigation as a creative, productive and innovative force.

Visit galleries on May 11

In addition, in order to attract new audiences for the city’s galleries, El Día de la Galería (Gallery Day) has been organised for 11 May. Following a guided visit around all the galleries, participants are offered lunch, and one or more pieces will be selected for acquisition by Bilbao Art District. An educational talk on art will also be offered at the same time.

Solasparkea and Herritarrar Ekologikoak are proposed as Walks and collective actions in conversation with the different material aspects of Doña Casilda Park and dramatised guided tours through non-native species of trees, respectively.

Project “Follow the leaders” from May 2–19

In addition to some of the above interventions, of special interest is the project Follow the leaders by the artist, Isaac Cordal. This will be on display at the Atrio de las Culturas at Azkuna Zentroa from 2 to 19 May, or the intervention Sounds, performed by the Association of Watercolourists on Saturday 4 May. As in other editions, students from the Faculty of Fine Arts will create artistic interventions in different areas of the city. These include the intervention created thanks to the collaboration of Containers Aurtenetxea and the Ría de Bilbao Maritime Museum.

Several other activities in May 2019

On top of this programme there are a number of special activities conducted by the representatives of the city. For example, on 17 May, the Vanguardia Gallery will screen the award-winning documentary, Izaro, after which there will be a symposium with the creator, Txuspo Poyo. At the same time, talks and encounters will be organised with artists and curators including Luca Gerardo, researcher from the Basque Centre for Applied Mathematics at Spazio Ranieri (10 May), recording artist Usoa Zumeta at Juan Manuel Lumbreras Gallery (9 May), Pako Pimienta at the Contemporary Photography Centre(10 May), and curator Jesús Alcaide and artist Eduardo Hurtado at Aldama Fabre Gallery (11 May).

The closure is on 11 May in the afternoon at the Tinglados del Arenal, where the artist collective Fat Combo and Caostica will create an audiovisual intervention in an installation called “Urban Primitive Art”. Here they will create two live pieces of graffiti accompanied by live music and visual interventions from VJ Anisakis.

Further Information

See the official website here

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Download the program here


Video: Leyre Goikoetxea, critic, curator and professor at the University of the Basque Country interviewes the artist Mabi Revuelta for Bilbao Art District