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Immerse Yourself In The Magical Painted Forest Of Oma In Basque Country, Spain

Visit the Painted Forest of Oma in Basque Country, Spain
Painted Forest of Oma [Image by Christelle S from Pixabay]
A Basque artist was inspired to head out into nature and make a magical, colorful landscape in the Forest of Oma. This beautiful forest is hidden away between the Basonda and Oma Valleys in a truly lovely UNESCO-listed area. Read on to find out how this artist has gone one better than nature by creating a colorful landscape, unlike any other.

The colorful Painted Forest of Oma in Basque Country, Spain

Painted Forest of Oma
Painted Forest [Image Wikimedia Commons]
The Painted Forest of Oma is located to the northeast of Kortezubi, a small, traditional town in the Basque Country of Spain. It was here that the artist and sculptor, Agustín Ibarrola created one of his best-known artistic endeavors. Meanwhile, this is a perfect example of what is termed “Land Art,” an artistic trend that started back in the 1960s. The trend quite literally takes art out into the countryside and uses nature as its frame and its medium.

Ibarrola was born in Basauri (Biscay) in 1930 and his first attempts at art were purely self-taught. However, in 1948, the artist received a grant which enabled him to travel to Madrid. There, in Spain’s capital, Ibarrola was able to further explore art, and particularly cubism and constructivism. Meanwhile, through these mediums, the artist was able to produce art that is far from the norm – in fact, a less pure and more social form of art.

A colorful, magical landscape

Painted Forest of Oma, Basque Country
Painted Forest [Image Wikimedia Commons]
The Painted Forest of Oma is typical of Ibarrola’s work. It was back in 1982 that he started work in the forest and he explained that the magical landscape represents the social reality. Moreover, the eyes of our ancestors and “the light that entered the forest and stayed there.” Meanwhile, his work is public art – to be shared with the people.

Exploring the forest, visitors will find he has painted numerous colorful patterns, shapes and figures. Meanwhile, taking a stroll here is a different experience for everyone. Sometimes, a single tree is painted in a certain pattern. However, other patterns spread over a number of trees, forcing the viewer to see the colorful art as a landscape in itself. In fact, the work looks different, depending on the angle it is viewed from.

Reopening the Painted Forest of Oma

Oma forest
Oma Forest [Image Wikimedia Commons]
According to Tourism Euskadi, the forest was closed to visitors for some time as maintenance was carried out on the artwork. However, the work is almost complete and the forest will reopen to the public on July 25, 2023.

While it was Ibarrola’s dream to make this public art, damage to the painted trees led to them needing maintenance. Due to this, visitors can only view the Painted Forest of Oma on guided tours by appointment. Moreover, it is recommended to book in advance during the summer months, from July 25 through September. Guided tours can be enjoyed from Mondays to Fridays between 10:30 and 12:30 and appointments can be made on the phone number +34 944 651 657.

View more images of the forest and a location map on the official website here. Also, the video included below takes viewers on a tour of the painted trees.



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