Saturday, November 21, 2009

Agustin Ibarrola and his Painted Trees

Agustín Ibarrola (born 1930) is a Spanish Basque painter and

sculptor, well known for his 'Enchanted Forest' of painted trees in the Forest of Oma (in the Spanish Basque Country).

Being Basque himself, didn't protect Ibarrola from the fanatics in the ETA, who

denounced him as a "Spaniard" and an "Honorary Fascist", terrorized him and his

wife and vandalized his artwork.

Since these accusations refer to the artist's politics, rather than to his work, you might think that Ibarrola represents some vestige of the old regime, but the contrary is true: being an ethnic Basque, born in a traditional basseri (traditional Basque farmhouse) and always donning his txapela, he was a militant anti-fascist and member of the Communist Party (for which he spent many years in jail under Franco and in exile in France).

What the ETA doesn't like is his outspoken criticism of violence, his joining anti-terrorist platforms like Basta-Ya where his condemnation of the ETA turned into condemnation of Basque nationalism in general. The sad truth is that condemnation is wider than just within the ETA, but much within local politics too.

I much admire Agustin Ibarrola; for his work and his morals.

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