Yesterday’s and today’s genocides and crimes against humanity: what should we do tomorrow?
The rumblings of a great organ, inspired by texts by great poets of Arabic literature, fragrances recalling jasmine, land or blood, a sacred place shrouded in green light, a symbol of hope and peace.... Time stands still as if in a dream. Visitors place in turn one of 20,000 wax nails arranged on the ground onto a monument made of a single block, a heated black monolith, with the wish to destroy their internal pain.
This is not a vision. This is Mawtini!
Mawtini is a unique collaborative art installation and an act of appeasement created by Hrach Arbach, French of Armenian-Syrian origin now living in New York. It was celebrated at the contemporary art festival "Nuit Blanche" at the end of 2014, housed in the St. Severin Church in the Latin district of Paris.
Mawtini, is a gesture: taking one of the 20,000 wax nails, carrying it to the monolith and setting it down to watch it melt.
Mawtini is the unification created in this gesture, a personal act of faith in the whole of humanity by the individual that follows through with this act, a kind of peace that is accessible to all.
Mawtini is a human and collective multi-sensory experience.
Mawtini is a suspension bridge between East and West.
Mawtini, it is the love of Earth and the men that live on it.
Mawtini is reconciliation, the ultimate appeal for peace and an ode to humanity!
But Mawtini is even more than that: it questions the role of art and how it should be used to awaken the senses and consciousness. Indeed, Hrach Arbach’s strength is in emphasizing that it is not enough to ascertain but to create a participatory work of art, the symbol of our desire to change. In a society where people give up too easily when faced with negative criticism by opposing, categorizing, labeling, he has a very personal idea of ow art should play its role as a lantern to guide us: "Our society need a message of peace. Anger does not solve anger. Evil and violence have no place in art. We live in a world without confidence: either in politics, the economy or in religion. It is the role of art to give us a little hope. Today, we need an kind of art that shows us solutions”. Mawtini was born from this reflection.
Hrach Arbach, told the Globe Lawyer the story that gave life to this work of art. Indeed, Mawtini means “homeland” in Arabic and is also the name of a patriotic song. Mawtini was originally meant to be a caricature of Arab patriotism. Hrach Arbach finally chose it to create a universal peace ritual.
Mawtini is therefore the embodiment of the universal dimension and humanistic art we should celebrate!
Mirroring the news, he now works on the concept of martyrdom in the Middle East, with the aim of trying to find an understanding using an open approach to discussion without judgment. The Globe Lawyer would be pleased to cross the ocean on her flying carpet to tell you more about this work.
Meanwhile, I leave you with this musing: Robert Bolt said that artists are liars infatuated with the truth, the Globe Lawyer prefers to believe that they are the stars that give us wings.
Hrach Arbach was born in Damascus (Syria) in 1975, he moved to Paris in 2000. He joined the National School of Decorative Arts in Paris after completing a PhD in molecular biology and is now fully dedicated to art. Since 2002 he has designed and held several exhibitions and structures based on his Armenian roots and his relationship with his Syrian homeland.
Mawtini was made collaboration with Francis Kurkdjian, olfactory artist and Samuel Liegeon, audio artist.