Pejac Creates a "Gold Mine" in a Spanish Prison for his Latest Project
From Al-Azraq refugee camp in the deserts of north Jordan to abandoned factories in Croatia, Pejac is determined to continue conveying his extraordinary art in the most peculiar places. He recently completed a series of interventions within the oldest prison in Spain: the Penitentiary Center of El Dueso. Overlooking the Cantabrian Sea at the entrance of the artist's hometown in Santander, the prison was built at the beginning of the twentieth century on the remains of an old fort used by Napoleon; a challenging setting for Pejac to carry out yet another poetic intervention. For eleven days, its walls, courtyards, and corridors became the artist's workplace, giving life to the Gold Mine project. The project integrates three singular pieces that represent the value of the human condition as a whole; its resistance to adversity, the need to create, and its desire to leave a mark.
"A prison itself is a place wrapped in harsh reality, but at the same time, I feel that it has a great surrealist charge. It's as if you only need to scratch a little on its walls to discover the poetry hidden inside." -Pejac
"For my piece, Hidden Value, I used real 22-carat gold leaf on the basketball court backboard in the prison's courtyard. The illusory visual effect of trompe l'oeil has done the rest, indicating that sometimes it is gold that does not shine. I like the idea of transforming an everyday object into a luxury object so that the inmates can use it and play with it daily. Creating luxury within everyone's reach.”
“When I first saw the corridor in Hollow Walls, with only cement and barbed wires, I felt I needed to add a poetic element that would detract from the hardness and pressure of those who pass between these walls daily. Let's imagine they are actually made up of sliding doors that can open as if it were an immense built-in wardrobe. Just imagine..."
"The Shape of Days mural speaks about perseverance as one of the most valuable virtues between El Dueso's walls. With the help of the inmates, I painted the iconic hash marks originally drawn on the walls of the cells to keep track of the days "inside". We painted thousands of them, playing with shapes and superimposing them to create volumes that finally represent the shape of an immense tree containing the passage of time and hope. Each day inside is a day that brings you closer to freedom and the holm-oak forest behind the walls.”
This project was accomplished by the commitment of Eva Ranea, General Director of Culture for the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports of the Government of Cantabria. Special thanks not only to the inmates who made this possible with their response, attitude, and involvement but also to the El Dueso Penitentiary Center's management and its educators who have put so much enthusiasm and effort into it.