Women Workers of the Sea / Ondarroako Emakumen - CODAworx

Women Workers of the Sea / Ondarroako Emakumen

Client: Ayuntamiento de Ondarroa

Location: Ondarroa, Spain

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $300,000

Project Team


Casto Solano



Argia Iturralde

Ondarroako Udala


Women Workers of the Sea / 700 x 800 x 800cm/ Stainless steel and bronze / No dyes or paints used whatsoever / Ondarroa, Bizcaya, Spain / 2011. The brief was for a large-scale, permanent and iconic monument to recognise and pay tribute to the importance of countless generations of the Basque fishing industry’s female workers.


Created as a lasting monument to the countless generations of women workers who have laboured in and supported the Fishing industry in the Basque town of Ondarroa, this piece is an example of extremely fine craftsmanship and understanding of human form and emotion. Sculpted nude, the figures were later clothed in a separate process. Brand new patinas were then developed to better represent human skin tones and transparencies, all without the use of any paints or dyes.


for this artwork, I have conducted interviews and conversations with citizens and women of the sea in Ondarroa. And they have been collected in a video. For its creation, this piece needed new technologies and procedures just as much as it needed artisan work and the technique of a master sculptor. Empty spaces were created within the piece, forms were simplified and facial expressions designed, that give the work a strong conceptual presence and sense of mystery. To better determine their forms, postures and movements, the women were sculpted nude. The hang of their dresses, down to each wrinkle, was designed to be convincingly physically realistic. Profound gaps between body and clothing have been designed into the figures and the clothes themselves produced to a minimum thickness. The legs and abdomens were each created as separate pieces and later fitted together once cast. Ceramic coating and bronze casting was carried out piece by piece. Each movement and pose of the figures was meticulously planned-out, fitted-together, checked and re-checked. In order to create maximum expressivity and naturalness, their facial expressions were perfected in bronze and new patinas were created with human skin tones and transparencies.

Additional Information

The anchoring system was designed to make both choosing their placement, and any later modifications of it, easy during installation. It was installed without disrupting traffic.