With the approval of Bishop Miguel Jose Asurmendi, the bishop of the Diocese of Victoria-Gasteiz, and the pastor of the Iglesia de San Miguel in Antezana/Andetxa, Araba, the Basque muralist Xabier Egaña is painting the walls, floors, and ceilings of the church in the style of a contemporary Michelangelo. The mural includes a three-level scene that follows Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (at the bottom) to the Last Supper (in the middle) and Christ ascending the cross (at the top). In addition, the mural also encompasses reflections of war, peace, and social justice. Egaña further explains the narrative of his mural, which incorporates upended towers from a nuclear power plant and tombstones from a Jewish cemetery in Prague, positioned alongside Jesus in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Last Supper with Roman soldiers as ominous shadows, and Christ appearing to fall and rise simultaneously from the cross.
The 72-year-old Egaña, from Getxo (Bizkaia) though resident in Zarautz (Gipuzkoa), works alone and unpaid with his brushes and buckets of paint, although some volunteers do also offer assistance. Egaña further elaborates his enthusiasm with his project: “It gives me great satisfaction at my age to do such a work at this grand scale. It is gratifying that the humble townspeople value all that I am doing and make it their own.” The goal of the project is to demonstrate religious, cultural, social, and spiritual themes, while at the same time incorporating the human condition. The color, figures, and forms applied on the painting serve as a pathway for enhancing one’s individual beliefs, regardless of any specific religious attachment.
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