Our association was founded in 2004 by a group of artists and other people interested in contemporary art. It's based in Saint Jean Pied de Port, the capital of Lower Navarre in Basque Country and an important staging post on the pilgrims' route to Santiago de Compostela, organises exhibitions, painting courses and other artistic events and welcomes artists in residence, works with local authorities and schools to organise cultural events. It has no political affiliation or objective and devotes itself solely to cultural matters.
The president of the association is Hélène Larralde, an urban planning specialist. The vice-president is Colette Maitia, a former headmistress. The secretary of the association is artist and graphic designer iF Matxikote, its treasurer is journalist Nicholas Bray, and its lead coordinator is painter Josette Dacosta. Founding members also included painters Felix Anaut and Gonzalo Etxebarria, sculptor Iñaki Olazabal, print-maker Juan Luis Baroja Collet, music teacher Mañolo Espellet, and art historian Carey Good.
The association's name means 'active shadow'. It comes from a poem (originally written in Spanish) by the Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza. The poem identifies 'shadow' as the active counterpart of light.
Argia argia baino ez zen
Jainkoak ilunpea sortzen du
eta gaueren ilunpetik
eguna jaiotzen da
eta argiaren egunean itzala jaiotzen da
ez baita argi gabezia negatiboa
itz.al izatearen ahalmena da
argiaren presentzia bizia
gure betiereko itzuleraren teoria
itzaletik argira itzultzen gara
lurraren itzalean igotzen gara
From the nothing which was light
Jorge Oteiza: "Existe Dios al Noroeste".