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UVic-UCC awards Perejaume a doctorate 'honoris causa' for his commitment to Catalonia, its language and culture

El rector de la UVic-UCC imposa la medalla de doctor honoris causa a Perejaume

UVic-UCC awards Perejaume a doctorate 'honoris causa' for his commitment to Catalonia, its language and culture

The artist and poet Perejaume (Sant Pol de Mar, 1957) was awarded a doctorate honoris causa by the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia (UVic-UCC) in a ceremony in the University's Aula Magna this morning, at which he was accompanied by more than 200 people, including the Senate of Doctors and other members of the university community, representatives of various cultural institutions, and the new doctor's friends and relatives. The ceremony was presided over by the rector of UVic-UCC, Josep Eladi Baños, and among those attending were the President of the Foundation for Advanced Health Sciences Studies (FESS) and member of the Board of Trustees of the Balmes University Foundation (FUBalmes), Josep Arimany, who was representing the Foundation's president and the mayor of Vic, Albert Castells, and the general secretary of UVic-UCC Anna Sabata. 

Perejaume began his acceptance speech by referring to the ties linking him to the Plain of Vic and to the Folgueroles-born poet Jacint Verdaguer, in whose work, as he said, "there is a persistent seminal virtue, so that fertility comes to life and is renewed there, as if all his work really was a field." Perejaume used the word "country", and "definitely not" landscape to present an exposition full of metaphors, in which he adopted natural elements and used poetic language. 

The new doctor honoris causa talked about his grandfathers, Pere Guinart and Jaume Borrell, who were farmers, to explain the origins of his name and his love for the land and the mountains. "Engaging with the environment and feeling part of what you live with is inherently agrarian. Traditional agriculture and livestock farming are an unsurpassed model for co-dependence with the environment," stressed Perejaume. And he added: "Placing our trust in the land is undoubtedly crucial, and instead of avoiding it, we must court it with our work and presence." 

In the final part of his speech, Perejaume spoke about the identification between land and the word. "The earth never stops working. And it never has definitive features: it expresses itself as the great poets do, rich in certain things that it will never be able to express or finish expressing." And on the subject of his work, he said: "I have produced the works as the works have produced me, no more and no less. And I have produced them while endeavouring to adhere to the pastoral and lyrical ways of living in the world that I have learned from the people, the places and the work I have encountered." The new doctor concluded his speech by reading Segimon Serrallonga's poem "Rabeig del Ter". 

A multifaceted and polysemic artist 

Perejaume's investiture as a new doctor honoris causa came after a proposal from the Faculty of Education, Translation, Sports and Psychology (FETPS) at UVic-UCC, in the wake of the high quality of his artistic and literary career, and given his commitment to Catalonia and its culture. On behalf of the FETPS, its dean, Eduard Ramírez sponsored the new doctor, whose "artistic output, always intertwined with literary creation" has led to "poetics with infinite metaphorical resonances in which different languages coexist, including painting, sculpture, speech, action and sound." 

Mia Güell, Montsita Rierola and Jordi Lafon, professors in the FETPS, wrote the laudatory speech for doctor Perejaume, whose artistic career, linked to the historical avant-garde: surrealism, Dadaism and conceptual art, began in the 1970s. They pointed out that his career progressed in the 1980s and 1990s towards a dialogue involving multiple languages, and over the last two decades Perejaume has enriched his repertoire "with a poetic and nomadic activism focusing on the recovery of the historical and ancestral materiality of places." According to Montsita Rierola, who read the laudatory speech, Perejaume's work "is committed in form and content, intellectually and poetically, to artistic standards of excellence, praised by critics and the public, and recognised" with the National Visual Arts Award of the Government of Catalonia (2005) and with the National Plastic Arts Award of the Spanish Ministry of Culture (2006), among others. 

During the laudatory speech, Rierola reviewed Perejaume's multifaceted work, including contributions like the one he made in Folgueroles in 2002 to mark the centenary of Jacint Verdaguer's death, but she also referred to his firm commitment to Catalan language and culture, art, and science. At the conclusion of the laudatory speech, she said: "Under his guidance, the visual and literary arts are entrusted to the criteria of a natural approach, based on nature, and he calls on us to share it as spectators through the artistic act. The reflections he evokes are moulded into works that are polysemic, analytical, surrealist and ironic, which are sometimes not without their contradictions, but which are always poetic." 

First doctorate in the plastic arts 

The rector of UVic-UCC, Josep Eladi Baños, pointed out that this is the first time that this university has awarded a doctorate honoris causa to a recipient working in the plastic arts, and stressed his pictorial work and literary output, which is influenced by the poets J. V. Foix, Joan Brossa and Jacint Verdaguer. The rector added that by conferring this recognition on Perejaume, UVic-UCC "accepts the values and the example of a life committed to Catalan culture in the multiple areas that he has cultivated, including painting, literature and the theatre." As the highest academic authority, Baños awarded Perejaume the medal that distinguishes him as a doctor honoris causa, which was created by the sculptor Emili Armengol. He was also presented with an original work by Chantal Maillard: the "P" symbol, the decorated initial capital letter of the new doctor. 

Josep Arimany, the President of the Foundation for Advanced Health Sciences Studies and the patron of the Balmes University Foundation, congratulated the new doctor, and pointed out that "he introduces the artistic forms of human curiosity combined with the ability to think in an abstract way." Arimany also referred to Perejaume's links with the Osona region, through the Sant Lluc Artistic Circle and Verdaguer's work and concluded by reviewing the University's history. The general secretary of UVic-UCC Anna Sabata began the ceremony by reading the agreements of the Governing Council of UVic-UCC and the Board of Trustees of the Balmes University Foundation regarding conferring a doctorate honoris causa on Perejaume.  

A delegation from the National Youth Choir of Catalonia performed several pieces of music during the ceremony, and the event concluded with the singing of the university anthem Gaudeamus igitur. The Uvic’s castellers group Emboirats subsequently created a human tower in honour of the new doctor. 

The programme of the ceremony in which Perejaume was awarded the doctorate honoris causa can be seen via this link.

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