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MAITE PINTO WINS THE 2018 ITZAL AKTIBOA PRIZE FOR YOUNG CONTEMPORARY BASQUE ARTISTS

OCTOBER 06, 2018

Maite Pinto, a 25-year old artist from Bilbao, has won the Itzal Aktiboa Prize for Contemporary Art for her project “The Kindness of Strangers”, which tells the story of 4000 Basque children sent as refugees to England during the Spanish Civil War.

Maite was born in Logroño in 1993. She studied Fine Arts at the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU) and then at the Manchester School of Art in England, from where she graduated with a Master. During her stay in Manchester she discovered the story of these refugee children who in 1937 were sent by their parents on the SS Habana as refugees to England.

After a rough trip in a ship equipped to accommodate only 800 passengers, and after long weeks living in camps set up by British volunteers, the children were taken into care by a variety of organizations and individuals in the UK. Some went back to the Basque Country after the end of the Civil War but others stayed in Britain for the rest of their lives. The experience forged strong bonds between the children which continue to link the survivors and their descendants.

To carry out her project, Maite consulted archives belonging to an association created to preserve the memory of this evacuation, The Association for the UK Basque Children. From these, she produced a series of aquatints in which the recreation of images through the absence and the presence of ink builds a graphic memory designed to go beyond notions of time and place to generate a reflection on the historical fact of emigration which still continues today.

The 2,000 euros prize is intended to reward a young artist under 40 living and working in the Basque Country. The jury had to choose between 34 candidates, in a competition organized by Itzal aktiboa in collaboration with the Basque Cultural Institute and the Centre for Contemporary Art of Huarte (Navarre).


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