As a gesture of gratitude to the health workers in his hometown of Santander, Pejac has painted three murals at University Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla.
Entitled after the quality of being strong, much needed in the world we live today, and especially within the walls of a hospital complex, ‘Strength’ is addressing three different aspects of the current crisis and proposes the ways we could respond to them.
“The idea of the ‘Strength’ project arises as a gesture of gratitude to the health workers of Valdecilla, for their work in general and during this Covid crisis in particular. Offering them what I do best, which is painting.” PEJAC
The hospital has been receptive and enthusiastic about the interventions. Patients themselves and health workers of the hospital were participating in the creation of these artworks.
“From the first moment, the hospital has been receptive and enthusiastic and that has made the project flow in a harmonious and easy way. In addition, they have given me total creative freedom and it has been a luxury to have their trust and support”. PEJAC
Social Distancing is a trompe l’oeil intervention that creates an illusion of a deep gaping crevice on a rigid surface of a cement wall. Made from countless human silhouettes that are trying to escape it, the artist wanted to represent the wound that this pandemic has left and do it as a tribute to health workers for their respect and solidarity towards the victims. While the image serves as a metaphor for the damage done by the pandemic, it also literally proposes Social Distancing as a way to fix them. In between the large crowd, the artist included scenes of reunion, empathy, care, and love, suggesting a door to a better, hopeful future.
Overcoming is the second piece from the series which was realized with on-hand help by young oncology patients. Depicting a child recreating Van Gogh’s ‘Wheat Field with Cypresses’ with his hands, the piece is somewhat a take on Pejac’s work he created in Norway in 2015, showing a boy recreating Munch’s Scream with his toy cars. In the piece, a child is propped on the wheelchair, able to paint higher than the rest. “This is something that we, as a society could do – take this crisis and use it to propel us forward,” the artist suggests.
Caress is the final piece that poetically describes the new dynamics of the relationship between the patients and the health workers imposed by the COVID virus. While physically standing distant and only looking at each other, their shadows are depicting the need and wish to return to physical contact. Pejac also added a sense of serenity and beauty by turning their shadows into a colourful and peaceful pond with water lilies, paying homage to one of his favourite painters, Monet, along the way.