28 March 2003 - 31 May 2003

In March 2001 ESCALA commissioned Raúl Piña to create a site-specific installation in the foyer of the Albert Sloman Library entitled ¿El conejo está o es muerto?(The rabbit is or is dead?).

Using paint and electricity, Raúl transformed an entire wall with the image of an anthropomorphic jaguar surrounded by a series of twenty symbols inspired by pre-Cortesian painted books from Mexico. These signs, of animals and other natural phenomena, comprise a ritual set with multiple meanings that were used by the Aztecs and other peoples for divination. In this installation each sign was connected to the body parts of the Jaguar Man as an expression of the harmony and connectedness of this figure, who represents the non-Western world and who is present in much of Raúl's work.

The answer to the question 'The rabbit is or is dead?' appeared to be 'not quite'. Despite the technical hitches Raúl's installation continued to enliven and enrich the library for many more weeks and was one of the most successful collaborations between ESCALA, the Albert Sloman Library and artists from Latin America to date.

Joanne Harwood

First published in the Report, Issue 9, Autumn 2001

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