I was thinking about what the name Inés Medina conjures up: long conversations on the phone, walks around New York, her passion for her family, lunch at the Polish restaurant, her painting, her memories of the Basque Country, her exhibitions at the Euskal Et xea in New York, her smile. I’d have a hard job putting all this into any sort of order, whether her order of preference or mine; but I think all of them are part of Inés Medina the artist, Inés Medina the mother (grandmother too, now), Inés Medina the woman, Inés Medina the survivor, Inés Medina and her life between the Basque Country and New York.
I’m pretty sure that Inés the artist would have an easier time of it in the Basque Country, in the Bilbao she loves. If she’d stayed there, she would never have had to struggle the way she has, the way she still does, in New York; but her art would also have been different. We would have lost an important part of Inés, a part that anyone visiting the exhibition or just browsing through this catalogue can now enjoy.
Sometimes I wonder if, like so many other creative spirit s, Inés had to leave her native country to obtain the recognition she deserved. She shies away from accepting this exhibition for what it is: a retrospective. I suppose that for her“retrospective” smacks of the artist at the end of his, or her, life and creative journey; but she is still young and still has plenty to say through her pictures, all so different yet so personal, at least as seen through a layman’s eyes (mine in this case).
Like the city she lives in, New York, and her work, Inés’s passion is contagious. So too is her enthusiasm, her optimism, her tenacity; even that warm smile of hers is infectious. I hope this exhibition and the accompanying catalogue help the visitor see Inés Medina a little more clearly. Anyone wishing to understand contemporary Basque art would certainly do well to follow her creative development closely..
US correspondent for Radio Euskadi and Ex President of Eusko Et xea, New York