Spanish artist PEJAC’s latest project Gold Mine took place within the walls of the oldest prison in Spain, the Penitentiary Centre of El Dueso. For ten days, its walls, yard and a corridor became the artist’s workplace.
El Dueso was conceived in 1907 as a modern prison incorporating new elements aimed to achieve prisoners re-socialisation through labour in open spaces.
With a surface of 330.000 m2, surrounded by a big stone wall of 3.000 meters, it s divided in three Departments, with an average prisoner population of 600 convicted inmates.
The qualities that make the El Dueso prison unique include a huge open patio that all three departments have access to and allows great freedom of movement during 9 hours a day.
Another unique characteristic of the El Dueso prison is its location. It is situated on the top of a hill and overlooks the beautiful countryside of the Natural Park of Santoña and Noja Marshes, and also overlooks the beach of the Cantabric Sea.
The Gold Mine project includes three art pieces reflecting on the value of the human conditions, its resistance to adversity, the need to create and to leave a mark.
One mural was a clever image of a tree painted on the concrete wall, with the composition containing green line markings of time spent in five year groups.
This mural was titled “The Shape of Days” and invites the green trees of the National Park into the prison.
Another mural was painted within the concrete alley way and is a gold bird flying out of the wall. This mural was titled “Hollow Walls”.
The third art piece was a 24ct gold background against the basketball hoop and is titled “Hidden Value” …
Prisoners themselves were participating in the creation of these artworks, something that the prison actively encourages to awaken prisoners interests. During their stay the Prison promote the importance of environmental care and its consequences on health.
“A prison itself is a place wrapped in harsh reality and at the same time, I feel that it has a great surrealist charge. It is as if you only need to scratch a little on its walls to discover the poetry hidden inside.” PEJAC
Photo credit Pejac