The people whose portraits are shown in this exhibition are of varying ages and from different professional and social backgrounds. But they are all American citizens, and they all share identification with the Basque Country, based largely on ancestral ties but kept alive through active participation in social activity and exchange.
It is this commitment to Basque identity that Zoe Bray set out to explore when she embarked on this project some years ago as a new arrival in the American West.
Zoe Bray lives in Reno, Nevada. A member of Itzal aktiboa, she is an artist trained in academic techniques and also an anthropologist. As such, she has always been curious to know more about the context and process involved in representing other people.
“I was conscious that I was coming to this part of the world in the footsteps of my great grandfather, who had left his village in Lower Navarre in the early 1900s to work as a sheepherder in Nevada, like so many of his peers at the time. As a new settler in the region, I felt the need to reflect further on my own identity and on how I possibly fitted in as a member myself of a Basque diaspora. Portrait-painting here enabled me to connect personally with the Basque American community, working with individual members of this diaspora on something that became more than just a pictorial representation.“
Place: Musée Basque et de l'histoire de Bayonne
ItzalAktiboa - Zitadelaren karrika, 22 - 64220 DONIBANE GARAZI