Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada has created a giant piece of land art called ‘Nourishing Self Esteem. On a wheat field in Spain, the artwork has been dug into the land. It is so large that it can really only be seen by air. Showing a pair of hands coming together it is a homage to the land and the people that work on it. Over the seasons the artwork will change as the land on which it has been created changes.
For rural communities the hands are tools that have long facilitated and sustained life. The land has been tilled by hand for generations. This is especially true in the remote rural setting of Estopiñán del Castillo close to Aragon in Spain. Two hands are revealed. One adult and one child and they are coming together. They act of symbols of creation, of balance and of giving and taking. It is representative of all that can be manifested through the action of work.
Nourishing Self Esteem Artwork
The artwork will be created in three phases. Called ‘nourishing self esteem’, these will utilise the changing of the seasons. As they change then so will the land and the fields. This in turn will change the contextual environment of the piece. The first phase in April shows the reaching hands surrounded by lush green fields of wheat. This is contrasted by the light tan colour of the soil. Dark tones of compost provide shading. It is a piece that by its nature is ephemeral and evolving.
Prominent within ‘nourishing self esteem’ is a fundamental respect for rural communities. Many people in the area live and work on the land. It’s a reality that is borne out every day in the nearby bakery at Fundación Crisálida. Here bread is baked using wheat from the fields. Cakes, buns, croissants, panettones and cookies are also created. These are then sold across the area and the region. Additionally the artwork celebrates the connection that exists within the bakery. Community initiatives mean that workers with learning disabilities are integrated into the workplace.
Power of Community
For Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada the baking and breaking of bread is one that transcends cultures and geography. Creating such an artwork as a homage to the daily tasks of people is an important act. Essentially it uses the land to celebrate those often overlooked yet vital jobs. A collective effort, those same local people were also involved in the hard toil of creating the piece itself. Quite literally tilling the land to shape an image so large that it can only be really comprehended from the air.
Perhaps one of the most striking elements of this giant landscape artwork is how it will change. Over the next six months that change will be documented in video and photography. As spring moves into summer and then Autumn so the landscape will change around. In many ways it reflects the life of farming community who rely on the land to make their living.
Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada has been supported by the local community. This includes Iris, Aleix, Martí, Cristina, Álex, David, Jacinto, Carina, Caroline, Jennifer, Esmeralda, Ana, Milla, Alén as well as many others. It has been sponsored by Fundación Crisálida. The metamorphosis of the artwork will be documented in video and photography to create a documentary of the project. This process will be overseen by artist Ana Álvarez-Errecalde.