Zumeta

The large mural that embellishes the back of the Usurbil Basque pelota court is the work of Jose Luis Zumeta, a local artist. The ceramic mural you can see before you is 16 metres wide and 9 metres high. It is the only one that has survived of the two ceramic murals that Zumeta produced during his artistic career. The local council commissioned the work from the artist and it has been here 1973.

Zumeta mural
Zumeta mural

Jose Luis Zumeta was one of the founders of the Gaur group, along with Jorge Oteiza, Eduardo Chillida, Remigio Mendiburu, Nestor Basterretxea, Rafael Ruiz Balerdi, Amable Arias and Jose Antonio Sistiaga. This group emerged during Franco’s dictatorship with the aim of restoring relations and dialogue with the international avant-garde. It sought to connect the present with the creation that had been violently disrupted by the Spanish Civil War. Its main objectives were to show that Basque art existed and to highlight the need to give it impetus. They aimed to achieve the artistic literacy of society and raise awareness so that society would embrace culture and give it momentum. The group was short-lived, but it became a benchmark of the artistic creation of Gipuzkoa and Euskal Herria in the 20th century. Some of the artists that made up the group reached out beyond the borders of Euskal Herria and achieved global fame and recognition.

Gaur Group
Gaur Group

Both the tribute to Udarregi and the founding of the Gaur Group can be seen as a response to the harsh conditions imposed on Basque culture by the dictatorship.

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