21 March 2007

Lebanese Mother's Day

If there has been a downside (which is not a foregone conclusion) to WHM here at Impart Art, it is that I have blogged nothing about Lebanon, and nothing about my kids, which are big parts of my world. I'm going to try to bring all that in today, since this is our Mother's Day.

Yesterday, Star's preschool had a party for all the moms. I walked in 15 minutes late, which is nothing in Lebanon. Late happens all the time. So it should bear some significance that when I arrived late, my child was the only one without at least one maternal figure sitting close by (yes, some kids had mom and Grandma). All the other moms where there. All of them. They had quite obviously already started the crafty-portion of the day's festivities. Star was totally unconcerned by my late arrival, but I got enough dirty looks from the other moms to make up for it.

It's a big deal here, Mother's Day. My husband keeps track of holidays by the banner ads online. But with only 15% of the Lebanese online, advertisers are sticking to billboards. For the past week or so, many billboards around town have been given over to suggesting anything from shoes to luxury watches for Mom. Some of these have been absolutely fascinating. Oh yes, I will elaborate.

1. There's a huge billboard on the costal highway from Exotica, the local fancy-schmancy (expensive) florist. The advert's only text is the company name and 'Mother's Day'. It shows a child's hand holding up a cut flower, and a woman's hand lazily half-inclined toward it. I swear, the positions of the hands are exactly out of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. In Michelangelo's image, God is about to give Adam life, through the touch of both beings' gently reaching fingers. How interesting, to put the mother in as God, the child in as Adam, and reverse the giving role. Are children who appreciate their mother essentially giving her life? Does a child repay the gift of his/her life by showing devotion to the mother (in the form of an annual flower)? What does it mean?!?

2. All along the road to Damascus, another billboard will greet you again and again. It shows two women seated, one on the right and the other on the left half of the image. Both are young, pretty, smiling. The one on the right is dressed in a suit with hair nicely done. She's a woman ready for the office. Her gaze is directed at the woman on the left whose clothing is comfortable, a t-shirt and knit pants, obviously not an office type. We see these two women just as the comfortably-clad one has unwrapped her mothers day gift--a lovely pair of shoes. Text running along the top reads: It's Mother's Day, Not Yours. Huh? Women who wear suits aren't moms? Or is it women in the work place aren't moms? Or moms are dowdy, so get them fancy shoes! Or what? What does it mean?

I'll get pictures when I can. Our camera is currently spending time with Matthew in NY.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Is that not the role of art? To stimulate thought and not confine it. Are billboards art or are they simply to get you to buy something? Probably just to get us to buy things for the majority of the world and to stimulate thought, by just being there, for people who are awake and can tell the discrepancies that are presented. You need to be the editor and tell the genius that created the billboard to go back and try it again, and this time to think about it.