In March 1991 Marwan Moujaes was baptized according to the rites of the Greek Orthodox Church in Mhaydseh, a small Lebanese village. Based on photographs from the event, Moujaes painted, 28 years later, a scene depicting the moment when the water touched his head and the Christian mystery was, somehow, accomplished.
However, at that time, the Lebanese civil war had delayed the artist's baptism for two years. The family was forced to stay at home until the end of hostilities. Thus, instead of being baptized at the age of six months, he was baptized at the age of 2 years and disturbed the course of the ritual. In fact, the body of the child growing larger made impossible the accomplishment of the three immersions in the holy water. The mystical gesture did not take place properly and a simple pouring of water on the head was improvised. The ritual was left incomplete, making the validity of the baptism possibly questionable.
In Lebanon, religious and political life are closely linked. Each one exists with and through the other and both of them practice the same control on life and its’ forms. Hanged discreetly between the historical, religious and secular paintings of the Bonnefantenmuseum, the painting is shown next to different bodies, lives, and gestures that are completely appropriated by gaze, religion and politics. Camouflaged among classical works to which it tries to belong, the painting itself, just like the baptism, try to fulfill a promise it can hardly hold; leaving the way to the emancipation of life slightly visible.