Parapluie Collective, Communal Umbrella

The installation Parapluie Collective (Communal Umbrella), 2010 consists of found used and broken umbrellas, thread, and velcro. The work was initially produced during an artist residency at NEKaTOENa in Hendaye, France.

The piece was inspired by the torrential rain in the Basque region and the plethora of discarded individual umbrellas littering streets and wastebaskets in Hendaye during the “off season.” By repairing and sewing umbrellas together, the artist produced a mobile, temporary protective barrier for groups of people to use together to stay dry.

The used umbrellas were collected with the help of civic associations such as Emmaus, the local recycling center and the garbage dump. Fabricated with a sewing machine and attached together with velcro, the ephemeral installation was first presented during the inaugural exhibition of the Centre Culturel Mendi Zolan, Hendaye, France in January 2011.

The installation of the piece requires a delicate performance in which the artist dances around the work, gingerly opening first one umbrella and then another until the structure is fully spread out. The sculpture served as the model for the larger participatory project, la Marcha de los paraguas colectivos, in Pampeluna, Spain, during the La Muralla Nómada festival in 2011.