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BEA SARRIAS

Portrait of the NATO HQ

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With Nato’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.

With Nato’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg.

Inaugurating the project, with Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.

Inaugurating the project, with Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.

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Spanish artist Bea Sarrias began a large-scale painting project – named “INSIDE” – at NATO Headquarters on Monday (11 March 2019). Over the course of the coming week, Sarrias will paint a large canvas of over six square metres with a likeness of the “Agora” – the wide central hallway that links the wings of the Alliance’s new HQ.

Speaking to Spanish media about the project, Sarrias said: “I do not just paint buildings but instead I create a portrait, reflecting the history of the building and that of the people that work and live in it”. She added: “architecture, fundamentally, is an excuse to paint light.

Inaugurating the project, Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller hailed Sarrias’ “unique style”, saying: “what you will see emerging from the canvas as the week goes by is our jewel, the Agora”. Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy Carmen Romero also welcomed the initiative, saying it is important to “showcase the softer side of NATO”. Spanish ambassador Miguel Fernández-Palacios called Sarrias an “outstanding Spanish young artist” whose project promises to “catch the soul of NATO”. The curator of the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, Manuel Cirauqui, also attended the launch.

The NATO Arts Programme was created in 2016, as part of the move to the new headquarters. Initiatives include commemorative pieces, such as the Berlin Wall and 9/11 and Article 5 Memorials; performance art; as well as a NATO Arts Heritage Hub, which displays art donated by Allied countries. The “INSIDE” project is the second fine arts / interactive media event to take place at the Alliance’s new headquarters, following a digital media installation by Portuguese artist João Martinho Moura earlier in March.