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Agustín Ibarrola Goikoetxea

Agustín Ibarrola Goikoetxea is a basque painter and sculptor.

He began his relationship with painting in a self-taught way (at age 16 he made his first exhibition) and in 1948 the Council of Biscay granted him a scholarship, so he could move to Madrid to continue his studies in the workshop of Daniel Vázquez Díaz, until 1955. With him he made his first steps into Cubism.

In 1950 he met another artist who had great influence on his production and his artistic mentality, the Basque sculptor Jorge Oteiza; with him he was introduced to the division and analysis of the space characteristic from constructivism. He also learned from Oteiza the mentality of joint artistic creation, where numerous artists and different arts will participate.

In 1956, after making several exhibitions in Spain, he moved to Paris. In this city he met some Spanish artists who were living there, with whom they founded Equipo 57 in 1957. At this time he discovered the engraving technique and became part of the “Estampa Popular” movement in the Basque Country. This is his period of constructivism.

During the 60s he began his political and social activity, being arrested in 1962 and imprisoned several years for his communist militancy. Later he participated in several worker strikes, and he was imprisoned again in 1967. During both stays in prison he continued painting.

In 1963 an exhibition of his work was held in London, where his works made the critics compare him with the role played by Goya in his work The Disasters of the War.

His pictorial work is a plastic development of his political ideology, which can be inscribed within social painting, denouncing the reality of the proletariat and the rural world. His work combines the Basque spirit with the social commitment with the workers, the most humble people and tends toward expressionism.

He carried out various studies on curved spaces and on the positive-negative and concave-convex relationships that later significantly influenced his aesthetic approach. In the decade of the 80s he began his sculptural activity and his singular vision of the pictorial work, reflected later in some of his works, such as his “Woods”.

A few years ago he decided to retire to a country house and started making large-scale pictorial and sculptural works and working in the nature in his “Woods”, pictorial decorations made in trees. An example of these, and probably his best-known work, is the “Wood of Oma”, near Gernika (Biscay).

Text written in March 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Jone, I am 28 years old and I am from a city of 200,000 inhabitants, called San Sebastián, in the Basque Country, in the north of Spain. Since 2012 I have lived in France, currently in the city of Bayonne, in the French Basque area. I studied Humanities and translation, and before starting my EVS I used to work as a Basque language teacher.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.