Artist Turns Abandoned House Into a Gold Mine to Make a Point

The artist hid a $2,000 gold nugget in the dirt. Photo: Iván Sikic

Artist Iván Sikic’s latest project titled LOOT deconstructs the illegal mining industry in his home country of Peru, the Creator’s Project reports.

It all took place in a dirt-filled abandoned house in Peru’s capital Lima, where Sikic invited visitors to search for a gold nugget he had hidden in the dirt. Each participant had to adhere to a few simple regulations: no tools, no sifting, no refunds—participants were required to pay approximately $0.30 for paper the bags they used to dig for the gold.

Visitors were invited to search for the gold nugget in the dirt Photo Iván Sikic

Visitors were invited to search for the gold nugget in the dirt
Photo: courtesy Iván Sikic

“I felt like I had the responsibility to comment on an issue that needs to be opened up.” He told the Creator’s Project. The project highlights that illegal mining industry exploits child labor, aids prostitution, and is responsible for the rapid deforestation of the Amazonian Rainforest.

After several weeks of digging, the house started to show signs of damage and degradation, this was intended to represent the damage that illegal mining does to society and to the environment.

After several weeks the house showed signs of damage Photo: Iván Sikic

After several weeks of prospecting the house showed signs of damage
Photo: courtesy Iván Sikic

“It was very interesting to notice the number of people that engaged in a broader dialogue about the consequences that informal gold mining is having in the jungle of Peru, as well as the number of people that disregarded this and entered the work purely with the hope to find the gold nugget,” he noted. Some of the attendees were just looking to make money out of finding the gold.

“I honestly believe that everyone that wants to should be able to experience a place as unique and full of life as the Amazon rainforest, and this, in the end, was the ultimate driver behind me making and presenting LOOT,” Sikic explained.

The installation took place in an abandoned mansion in Lima, Peru Photo: Iván Sikic

The installation took place in an abandoned mansion in Lima, Peru
Photo: courtesy Iván Sikic

Iván Sikic is now working on a final piece for his series about Lima of which LOOT is a part, and also on pieces addressing wealth division and banking systems. These projects will be presented globally in Lima, Peru, Valencia, Spain, and possibly Brooklyn, New York.

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