Before reaching the seabed to which they are destined each year, one of the many concrete blocks of the port of Socoa (64) welcomes the sculpted narrative of Anne-Laure Boyer. The time of the Cultural Summer, initiated in 2020 by the Ministry of Culture, the artist invites young inhabitants to meet a collective imagination.


In the protected bay of Saint-Jean de Luz-Ciboure, the Basque port of Socoa houses a path formed of monumental concrete blocks intended to reach the depths of the sea to protect the dike from the assaults of the ocean. The ritual, which consists in immersing each year about thirty blocks to stem the erosion of the old blocks, dates from the end of the XIXe century.

It is on one of these blocks that the department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques entrusted to the artist Anne-Laure Boyer, within the framework of the Art in the public space, the care to create his Ex-Voto marine. An ephemeral work, the result of documentary research and a memorial collection from the inhabitants, this monumental bas-relief creates a link between residents or people passing through by taking them on the traces of local history.


Sur le chemin des blocs dans le quartier de Socoa, l'Ex-Voto marin attend sa mise à l'eau en avril 2022.

Tinged with a spiritual and commemorative aura, the work pays tribute to the forces of the sea. As part of the Cultural Summer, a project of appropriation is proposed to the public and in particular to thirty children of the recreation centers of Ciboure or the children’s home of Socoa, in the form of workshops dedicated to be deployed until the fall 2021. Create complicity by making yourself a multiple derived from theEx-Voto and explore the clay and plaster casting techniques used by the artist are the objectives pursued

Like an offering to the ocean, the launching of theEx-Voto marine will take place in April 2022, so that it will be unveiled at low tide. During a voting ceremony, the general public and local associations will be invited to accompany this collective gesture, in the presence of a traditional choir made up of children and inhabitants. A replica of the work will be permanently installed on one of the walls of the promenade of Fort Socoa.

The follow-up of Anne Laure Boyer’s project is implemented by the coop art factory in Bidart.

About the artist

Originally from Paris and based in Bordeaux since 2006, Anne-Laure Boyer graduated from the École supérieure des Arts-décoratifs de Strasbourg, after studying art at the University of Paris VIII and the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Brera in Milan. His career was built around residencies of artists or commissions in specific territories and environments. With photography, video, cartography, the collection of words, stories and objects, she works to create resonances between the experiences of each other, in order to reconstruct the maps of a collective imagination in perpetual motion.

For more information, see Anne-Laure Boyer’s website
While reaffirming the role of the arts and culture in the rebirth of the social bond, the Cultural Summer is a device of the Ministry of Culture whose objective is to allow young people and families, especially those who do not have the opportunity to go on holiday, to have access to a quality cultural offer during the summer period. The operation should also enable young artists, who have recently graduated from art schools, to be supported in their access to employment. 

For more information, read our article of 08/06/21 and consult the map of regional projects.