Time and time again we see artists using their creative visions to bring awareness to important social issues. The ongoing, worldwide refugee crisis is often a topic that visionaries touch upon and, now, Spanish artist Pejac has made his voice heard. High atop the Holy Cross Church in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood stands a sculpture of a young child in a life vest. As he clings to the cross that sits at the church dome's apex, he stretches out one hand to raise a flare. In doing so, he sends a powerful message about help in the face of danger.
Pejac's installation, titled Landless Stranded, is a striking piece of public art. The installation asks viewers to face their own feelings about the challenges that refugees of all ages face. The artwork was installed with the permission of the Holy Cross Church, which was happy to host the piece in light of the charity work with refugees and people facing homelessness that it carries out. Other important partners in the work are Sea-Watch (a German non-profit that conducts humanitarian missions to rescue migrants stuck in the Mediterranean) and DOJO Cares (a creative agency with offices inside the church).
While the sculpture is certainly visible from below, Pejac installed binoculars opposite the church that allow spectators to get a closer look at the piece. Metaphorically, these binoculars also allow the public to bridge the distance and stop thinking of refugees in terms of “us” and “them.” With the United Nations estimating that 82.4 million people were displaced by the end of 2020 due to violence, persecution, and human rights violations, it's clear that this is a problem that affects everyone. Practically, when using the binoculars, viewers can also scan a QR code that takes them to a webpage that discusses the church's new charity campaign and a link to donate to Sea-Watch.
This piece is yet another way for Pejac to communicate with the public and use his art for the greater good. “The best way for me to connect to the world is through art,” says Pejac. ‘‘This new installation speaks of all the people who, even on land, feel adrift.”
Landless Stranded is on view at the Holy Cross Church on Zossener Straße 65 in Berlin until November 5, 2021.
Pejac's installation Landless Stranded is a powerful commentary on the world refugee crisis.
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