Galicia's Forest hosts Francisco Leiro’s sculptural intervention entitled Zapatos no Camiño (Shoes on the way), composed of three pieces made of different materials, which from near the summit of Monte Gaiás establish a visual dialogue with Santiago’s Cathedral, the Camino de Santiago and the Vía de la Plata, which runs parallel to the complex of the City of Culture when enters the capital of Galicia.
As part of the Xacobeo 21-22 (Jacobean Year 21-22), this contemporaneous and universal sculptural intervention, referential creation and of compulsory visit, contributes to the consolidation of the natural and leisure attractiveness the Forest of Galicia already has, with a piece of one of the most outstanding Galician artists of all time, with an unmistakable artistic production.
Produced with durable materials and a formal design connected with the natural environment in which they are located, with the Camino de Santiago as a contextual framework, the sculptures made by Leiro represent three pilgrims’ shoes: one made of granite, another of concrete, and another of cast iron, with dimensions of around two metres, in order to be seen from the distance. In this case, the shoes become humanised objects that symbolise the effort and the will required by the journey, while their formal design calls for the interactivity with the visitors, and they can be used as objects of rest by the public.
Francisco Leiro (born in Cambados, Pontevedra, 1957) is one of Galicia’s most internationally renowned sculptors and artists, with a professional career that has spanned decades between New York, Madrid and Cambados.
Leiro has created an important monumental sculptural production in public and/or outdoor spaces, including such iconic works as the figure of the fantastic animal known as Sireno (Male siren of the Puerta del Sol in Vigo). He was recognised with awards and decorations such as the Medalla Castelao de la Xunta de Galicia (Castelao Medal from the Xunta de Galicia) in the year 2000, or the Premio de las Artes (Arts Award) in the 2nd Edition of Gallegos del Mundo (Galician people of the world) in the year 2003.
His work is present in important art collections of museums, public and private Galician, national and international institutions, such as the Akron Art Museum (Ohio, United States), the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona (Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona), the Museo Marugame Hirai (Marugame Hirai Museum) (Kagawe, Japan), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, Netherlands), or, in Galicia, the Auditorio de Galicia (Auditorium of Galicia), the Centro Gallego de Arte Contemporáneo (Galician Centre of Contemporary Art), or the collections of Abanca and Afundación.
Art in the open air
Zapatos no Camiño joins the series of artistic and landscape interventions that the Xunta de Galicia is promoting in the outdoor spaces of the City of Culture, directly connected to the Xacobeo (Jacobean Year) and with Santiago de Compostela as an international pilgrimage destination. Among them, visitors can find the work Espellos (Mirrors), by sculptor Manolo Paz; Constelacións II (Constellations II) by Clara Montoya – also known as the pilgrim’s bench -; or the metallic pyramid by Alicia Framis titled Deixa aquí os teus medos (Leave your fears here) in the surroundings of the Literary Garden. The interventions are completed annually with the ephemeral works of the cycle Rebel/vealed in the landscape, which highlight contemporary creations by women.