Archives # Culture # Basque Txokos at the National Portrait Gallery June 2006

Last year's BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery featured a special section, which included a series of portraits made by British Artist Joel Ely on "Txokos and Basque Tradition".

Basque Txokos at the National Portrait Gallery


Joel won last year's BP Travel Award and subsequently travelled to Bilbao in October 2005 to document members from Txoko Mallona, a gastronomic society typical from Basque Country. The series of portraits constitute a significant part of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. He has also produced an illustrated article that has been included in the official catalogue.

Joel Ely has made portraits of members of a Basque male gastronomic society known as the Txoko, which meets weekly to consume traditional Basque dishes, drink, talk and sometimes sing. He explores how cooking is a means of communication and a way of defining cultural identity and authenticity. While researching for this project Joel contacted the London Basque Society and shared a few meals with some friends. This gave him the opportunity to observe the Basque Diaspora and their cooking traditions.


The exhibition

The BP Portrait Award, now in its twenty-seventh year, is a popular fixture on the summer calendar, and is the leading showcase for young artists specialising in portraiture. The competition is open to artists from around the world and last year received a record-number of over 1000 entrants. This exhibition stays at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from 15 June to 17 September 2006. Then, it will travel to Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum, from 25 November 2006 to 3 February 2007 and the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, from 31 March to 20 May 2007.