Part of the revitalization of Bilbao includes beautiful architecture, wide public spaces, infrastructure and art for the masses. You’ll be walking through the park and you’ll come across some abstract art. You’ll drive underneath a bridge and see a large mural. My favorite that I came across is a video wall projected onto a warehouse space.
The public art creates a sense of pride for the locals and the community. For visitors, it makes unique memories on their stay. I certainly took notice and asked my guide about the meaning and origin.
Here’s one to take note: Ramón Rubial Cavia statue outside of the Guggenheim. The Spanish socialist leader was arrested for his revolutionary activities during the Spanish Civil War. Rubial spent 21 years in prison. From Wikipedia: Rubial was released on 23 August 1956 and started to reorganize the PSOE and UGT in the Basque Country and in Spain working underground. President of the PSOE since 1976, he was elected senator for Biscay in the first democratic elections of 1977. He was the Second Vicepresident of the Spanish Senate. On 7 February 1978 Rubial was elected President of the General Basque Council, which prepared the Basque Country for the return to autonomous government.
He lived for 93 years. The street nearby the museum bares his name.
The statue is called The Honorable Gate (aka Gate to Glory) by Casto Solano — “It is a realistic full figure sculpture in bronze, advancing with his hands in his pockets towards the Gate of the Honourable, a large iron block which enlarges the perspective of the politician with its great interior hole.”