In 2014, the statue of Perdaxius’ patron saint, Santu Jacu (St James), was accidentally shattered during the yearly procession dedicated to him, when it got caught in a festival ribbon hanging over the street. The fall of the saint upset the community, who viewed it as a sign of future misfortunes. 

The following May, while in Nairobi for the Darajart residency project, Cherimus decided to reinvent a new statue for Perdaxius with Nairobi-based artist Charles Nshimiyimana.

Once back in Sardinia, the sculpture was completed with the aid of the people of Perdaxius during Caro Giacomo 2015. The eyes of the saint are made of coal extracted from the mines of Serbariu in Carbonia, while his walking stick is made of wild olive wood.

Once finished, the statue was donated to the town of Perdaxius. The town, however, was reluctant to welcome it because of its Masai-like features and its unconventional clothes, which seemed to them more suited to a pilgrim than to a saint. Eventually, though, people started to pray in front of the saint.

In 2016, the statue was thus used for the first time for the festival of the patron saint’s yearly procession.
During the 2016 festival of Caro Giacomo, Cherimus hosted Brera’s collective OUT 44 (Giorgio Cellini, Chiara Peru, Camilla Garelli), and visual artists Marco Pezzotta, Simone Berti, e Vanina Lappa. During the days of the festival we collaborated with Perdaxius-based association Su Nuraghe to design a new kind of pastry with the shape of a scallop shell (the symbol of St. James and of pilgrimages) to be offered to the inhabitants. From Dina Marongiu and the other members of the Su Nuraghe association, artists learned a traditional way to shape bread for special occasions (su coccoi) and an old way to bake it; they then designed breads with unexpected shapes, some of them resembling, in miniature, the saint’s new statue.

On the main evening of the festival, traditional poet and inventor Francesco Capuzzi sang a poem he wrote about the story of the new saint’s statue. The new poem was performed at Bar Trullu in the center of the town.

After the festival, the sculpture of the saint was placed in the old countryside church of St James, where inhabitants now often go to visit it.

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Dina Marongiu shaping the dough
Dina Marongiu of Su Nuraghe

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Marco Pezzotta with Derek MF Di Fabio
Chiara Peru, Miriam Calabrese and Camilla Garelli of the collective OUT44

They have found ancient documents about the birth of Perdaxius

They have found ancient documents. Due a flag placed too low…

The old saint broke into pieces due to a flag placed too low

Before the Roman age, here lived the Carthaginians

Before the Roman age, the new Saint was born far away, from a Rwandese father, in the land of Kenia

He spent his youth in the lake of Tiberias

Someone who saw him said he does not quite look like the old one

The must ferments bubbling in every tub

St James was born in Palestine, so tell me who is the right one?

(Francesco Capuzzi)