Spain-based Uruguayan artist Martin Sastre has launched a perfume project sitting at the crossroads of politics and arts and inspired by the personality of Uruguay's president since 2010, José Mujica also known as Pepe Mujica. A political figure of atypical Franciscan modesty, Mujica has been called "the poorest president in the world" as he donates 90% of his $12,000/ month salary to social housing projects...
Sastre while invited at the biennale of Montevideo reflected that the president's personality is the siege of a great paradox, for he who gives is the richer for giving while also being literally poorer. Perfume appeared to him to embody this paradox of luxury and poverty best. It is a luxury to give and to have such a president.
The perfume entitled U from Uruguay has been issued as a unique copy made with the essences of flowers growing on the farm of Pepe Mujica who initially expressed surprise but no outright refusal to participate in the project.
Sastre has shot a video to illustrate his aim in the style of a commercial TV ad, and also designed the prototype for the bottle.
The object was auctioned off at the 55th biennale of Venice with 90% of the revenue generated going to the creation of the ﬁrst National Contemporary Art Fund of Uruguay. In the end, the Argentinian Alan Faena purchased U from Uruguay for $50,000.