Kelly Arrontes combines art and science in her “Water is Life” mural
Kelly Arrontes has completed her artistic project at the Barcelona Science Park which she began in January. Created with the sponsorship of Agbar, the mural depicts water’s four states as it runs for 125 metres along the corridor that connects the Cluster I and Cluster II buildings. Kelly Arrontes, who is legally blind as she only has 9% of normal vision, is a member of ONCE. Her “Water is Life” project won a PCB art contest which was open to the public and anonymously judged.
The mural was created using acrylic paint combined with texture and relief elements made of tissue paper. “That’s the Arrontes touch,” the artist explains. “It’s made to be touched and invites you to touch it.”
The mural’s central theme is water, one that is consistent with the artist’s abstract expressionist style. “A film of water exists between me and the real world,” says Arrontes. “That’s the reason I chose this element as my mural’s central theme. I express what I am seeing. My visual acuity fluctuates in accordance with my mood. I see better on some days than on others. The four parts of the mural represent the symbiosis between the different physicochemical states of water and my own.”
In the artist’s own words: “The first section, entitled ‘Calm Waters’, is like a holiday, the days when I can see well. The second, ‘Splash’, symbolises a stone falling into water and splashing you in the eye. It represents moments when I cannot see. The third section, called ‘Choppy Seas’, recreates rough sea conditions and represents the days on which everything’s harder because my vision is diminished. And finally, the fourth part, ‘Leap into the Void’, represents frozen water, or days when I can see almost nothing at all.”
Kelly Arrontes created the mural with the help of painter Leix Urbano, a member of Artistas Diversos which is an organisation that champions the social inclusion and employment of people with disabilities through art.
An open and anonymously judged competition
“Water is Life” was the winning entry in a public art competition announced by the PCB in September. The winner was chosen based on the unanimous decision of a jury made up of various experts in the fields of science, communication and visual arts who were not aware of the creator’s identity.
“When we jurors evaluated the competition’s entries we chose the ‘Water is Life’ project without knowing who its creator was,” points out Barcelona Science Park Director Ignasi Belda. “It was a surprise to learn that it had been submitted by someone with 91% visual impairment. During the three months during which Kelly has worked at the PCB we’ve seen that her piece creates a genuine dialogue between art and science. Many of the 2,700 people at the PCB have told us how much they appreciate the mural and said that its central theme of water is an essential element of life.”
Albert Martínez Lacambra, CEO of Agbar, said that the company’s mission is to promote social and cultural activities in the city as an expression of its commitment to Barcelona, and more specifically to provide people with disabilities with equal access to art and culture. He praised the work of the artist and its connection with water, a core element for Agbar and for the management of its companies such as Aigües de Barcelona
The opening ceremony, which was held yesterday afternoon at the Barcelona Science Park and attended by more than 100 people, was hosted by University of Barcelona Rector Joan Elias. Also present were PCB Director Ignasi Belda, painter and mural creator Kelly Arrontes, Agbar CEO Albert Martínez Lacambra and other academic, scientific, business and third sector figures.
Art and Science at the PCB
Kelly Arrontes’s piece is the third initiative in which the Barcelona Science Park has fostered interactions between science and art.
2014 saw the opening of ’The Park Garden’, a recreational area for the PCB community which included artwork by painter Núria Mora. Her piece plays with the geometry of space and its furniture and combines the simplicity of abstract shapes and flat volumes with a colour palette specially made by the artist herself.
In 2015 Anna Taratiel, one of the leading representatives of the international street art movement, completed her artwork in the corridor connecting the Cluster I and Cluster II buildings by creating an avant-garde pictorial composition 80 metres in length and featuring shapes offering great visual impact which play with colour saturation to provide highly unusual two- and three-dimensional perspectives.