Bilbao Statue Aims to Get Everyone Talking About Sustainability

Drowning Girl statue Bilbao Spain
The “Drowning Girl” statue by artist Ruben Orozco in Bilbao, Spain – Photo: BBK / Youtube

Mexican hyperrealist artist Ruben Orozco has got the people of the Spanish city Bilbao up in arms with his latest creation, which is meant to start conversations around the topic of sustainability.

Orozco’s statue is titled “Bihar” (translated as “Tomorrow” in Basque) and features the face of a young girl drowning as it pokes out of Spain’s river Nervion.

Ruben Orozco created the sculpture as part of a campaign put on by the BBK Foundation. The BBK Foundation is the charitable arm of the Spanish lending institution Kutxabank.

Orozco is no stranger to unique and conversation-starting projects. As his Instagram account shows, he has created a vast collection of ultra-realistic pieces over the years, with “Bihar” being the most recent.

According to the artist, the goal of the statue and the BBK Foundation’s campaign is to make people more aware of how their actions when it comes to the environment and sustainability efforts can “sink us or keep us afloat.”

Every day, the 264 lb (120kg) fiberglass statue is covered and uncovered as the tide ebbs and flows. A representative from BBK told Reuters that this is intentional and meant to make a statement about the risks of betting on “unsustainable models,” including those that contribute to climate change.

Residents of and visitors to Bilbao have mixed feelings about the “Bihar” sculpture. One visitor said that she initially felt “stress” when she saw the statue, but now she sees it as communicating “a lot of sadness.”

Another person said that they originally thought the sculpture was a memorial to someone who drowned. After learning its true meaning, they added that everyone can “give their own meaning to it.”

Those who want to see the statue for themselves can view it in the video below, available via YouTube. They can also contribute to the BBK Foundation’s mission or learn about their other projects by visiting their website.