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Drowning girl statue causes a stir in Bilbao

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By Reuters
Drowning girl statue causes a stir in Bilbao
Drowning girl statue causes a stir in Bilbao   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p>By Vincent West</p> <p><span class="caps">BILBAO</span>, Spain – Staring impassively out from the murky waters of Bilbao’s River Nervion, the eerily lifelike face of a young girl drowning in the tide has been unsettling people in the Spanish city since she appeared unannounced last week.</p> <p>Mexican hyperrealist artist Ruben Orozco created the enigmatic figure, entitled ‘Bihar’ (‘Tomorrow’ in Basque) for a campaign by the <span class="caps">BBK</span> Foundation – the charitable arm of Spanish lender Kutxabank – to encourage debate around sustainability.</p> <p>The goal is for people to be aware that “their actions can sink us or keep us afloat”, the artist told Spanish news website Nius.</p> <p>As the tides rise and fall, the 120 kg (264 lb) fibreglass figure is submerged and uncovered each day, which <span class="caps">BBK</span> said was a reflection on what could happen “if we continue to bet on unsustainable models” such as those that contribute to climate change.</p> <p>Bilbao residents awoke to the installation last Thursday after it was taken by boat and lowered into the river near the city centre at the dead of night.</p> <p>“At first it gave me a feeling of stress, when more of the face was out of the water, but now to me she communicates sadness, a lot of sadness,” said visitor Triana Gil. </p> <p>“She doesn’t even look worried, it’s as if she is letting herself drown.”</p> <p>Another onlooker, who gave her name as Maria, initially thought the sculpture was a memorial to a tragic past event.</p> <p>“I learnt today that’s not what it’s about, but I think people can each give their own meaning to it,” she said. </p> <p>‘Bihar’ is not the first Orozco work to surprise and move Bilbao.</p> <p>Two years ago his life-size statue of a lone woman sitting on a park bench, ‘Invisible Soledad,’ sparked a debate about the isolated lives of the elderly.</p> <p/> </div>