Friday, July 14, 2023, 7:10 p.m.
The “static” image of a fish vendor by the painter Alberto Arrue served as the background for the start of the presentation that the PhD in Art History, Amaia Apraiz, offered yesterday, at the Bermeo Fisherman’s Museum, within the framework of the UPV/EHU summer courses. In her conference entitled ‘The Bermean woman: the historical engine of a town’, Apraiz claimed that “there is not a single model of a Bermean woman, nor is there a single man,” she clarified.
In contrast to the “stoic and timeless” portrait that sometimes is shown in pictorial works on women, linked to fishing activity, Apraiz later resorted to a photograph by Eulalia Abaitua to discover the women of the sector “but in an active attitude, in front of the ones that Arrue proposed to us, who pose without doing anything and could have a sea bream in front of them like a grand piano”, pointed out the cultural heritage consultant at Ikusmira Ondarea.
In his conference, he went from pictorial vision to the spontaneity reflected in Abaitua’s snapshots to draw a closer and more documentary ‘picture’ of the role played by the women from Berme during the last two centuries.
“Their work went beyond repairing or making nets or being employed in canneries,” he stressed. “They also stood out as hook makers, fish dealers, boat girls, fryers… All professionals with a first and last name, who have marked the history of Bermeo.” The specialist also highlighted “those who fought to be free businesswomen such as Magdalena Portuondo, Florencia Allika and Salomé Campos and her sisters, among many others.”
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