Laurent Mareschal – Beiti

Tiles of spices


What the piece means to me:

A simple short story:

What Once was Home

A little boy ran home from school waving his award in the cool breeze only too eager to show his mother his achievement when he got home. The olive trees lining the sides of the roads were in bloom and the air was filled with the scent of jasmine. He whizzes passed the local store waving “Hello” and runs through the gates to his lush garden. The front door is unlocked in anticipation of his safe return home. He swings it open, throws his backpack in the corner and runs into the kitchen. He could smell the scents of the many herbs and spices lining the kitchen counter and sees his mother standing in the room, arms wide open, ready for a warm embrace from her precious son. “Mom, Mom, look! I won this award for highest achiever in math!” he cried. She gives him a hug, kisses him on his forehead and hangs his certificate on the kitchen fridge. Wide-eyed and smiling from ear to ear he runs back out into the hall hopping an imaginary game of hop-scotch on the ornate tiles that line the room.

A door slams shut!

The tiles slowly disappear, almost evaporating into thin air as he opens his eyes. The scents, sights and sounds vanish, as he lay on the ground of a tent in a refugee camp, cold and hungry with only a small rag to shield him from the chill in the air. His mother comes into the room embraces him and rocks him back to sleep singing the familiar lullabies she used to sing to him as an infant.

He wills himself to sleep in his mother’s arms in hopes of reliving his beautiful dream that had taken him back to the days when he was safely home, happy in school and without a care in the world. If only things could go back to the way they were. Back in Palestine. Back at home.


About the Artist and the Piece:

Artist: Laurent Mareschal

Title: Beiti, 2013 (My Home)

Background: Mareschal, French artist, is concerned with the impermanence of life and often emphasizes the particular impermanence of Palestinian life. His work is site-specific and temporary. He also uses everyday materials as his medium. Here he used several spices to design a pattern of decorative floor tiles reminiscent of designs that could be seen in traditional Middle Eastern houses.

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