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The Oma Forest

Visits ended to the painting process of the Oma Forest, which will open to the public definitively in autumn 2023

The Oma Forest will remain closed until the painting process is completed. The Forest will open definitively in autumn 2023.

The Oma Forest, located in Bizkaia’s municipality of Kortezubi, is facing its last stage of painting and in autumn it will be opened definitively to the public.

The Oma Forest transfer project carried out by Bizkaia Provincial Council through a multidisciplinary team led by UPV/EHU professor Fernando Bazeta is facing its second and last painting phase.

In the first phase, carried out during the summer 2022 period and as was planned, 14 artistic elements were created, with a total of 454 trees painted. The second phase of work is facing its final stage with the painting of another 400 trees and 20 artistic elements, until painting the 34 artistic elements that make up the Oma Forest.

This project by Bizkaia Provincial Council is the result of exhaustive work to research and re-examine this work by Agustín Ibarrola, carried out by a multidisciplinary team led by Bazeta and commissioned by the provincial institution. It will enable the presentation of a work that faithfully reflects the artists original idea, as some of the elements will become larger, something that Agustín Ibarrola was unable to do at the time. In addition, some of the lost artistic elements have been restored. The Oma Forest will be completed by autumn 2023 and will contain all the documented artistic elements that have existed in the Forest.

The painting process uses innocuous paint and the aim has been to use the same type of paint that the artist used. The process is also being carried out in the same way as the author created the elements, i.e., prior work was done to identify the most adequate spaces for each element, the viewing of the spaces and the appropriate perspectives and on-site drafts, to then finally paint them manually.

Throughout this process, the team directed by professor Bazeta has also used the inventory created in 2015 by Bizkaia Provincial Council and their digitalisation project, which makes it possible to transfer the elements with their exact dimensions and features.

Multidisciplinary team

This project by Bizkaia Provincial Council has been carried out by a multidisciplinary team created for the preparation and transfer of the work, led by Fernando Bazeta, professor of the UPV/EHU. The team includes two plastic artists, three restoration experts, a Contemporary Basque Art specialist from the UPV/EHU, an architect from UPV/EHU and two specialist architects from the company Xortu, two students from the BA in conservation and restoration by the UPV/EHU, and forestry experts from the provincial company Basalan. The project also receives advice from Bizkaia Provincial Council’s cultural heritage service and is being carried out with help from the Ibarrola family.

The most faithful and complete Oma Forest

As a result of the detailed research, a re-examination of the Forest has been carried out that has led to a project comprised of 34 artistic elements imprinted on more than 800 trees. With this project launched by Bizkaia Provincial Council and thanks to the work of the team led by Fernando Bazeta, conceptual mistakes and inadequate titles have been corrected, and the parts that make up the elements and their meaning have also been accurately defined.

Likewise, the inclusion of a higher number of painted trees in artistic elements such as Eyes, Circles of Colours, Enveloping Rhythms and Forest Animals complete them with the dimensions and features that the artist intended in his original designs, and the restoration of another four elements that were lost the Cordoba Mosque, Homage to Oak, Nuclear Threat and Two-Dimensional Diagonal makes it possible to enjoy the full Oma Forest work. These elements were lost in 1989 due to the felling of trees carried out by the owners of the land at the time.

The Forest opening in autumn will be more looked-after and sustainable, as the regular treatment and care that will be provided to the planted elements are more appropriate to the forest’s biological rhythm; the original vegetation is respected and tasks that may affect its plant biotype are avoided. At the same time, a security system will be activated to act in the event of fire or to react in emergency situations.

In addition, to give visitors a more pleasant experience, the paths are being prepared with an ecological substrate formed by crushed pine and cypress tree bark, and rest areas will be created along the route. And so that visitors to the Forest can better interpret the work, a variety of resources will be available that will help them learn more about the artist, his career and the Oma Forest itself.



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