“Over there, by the scent of oranges…” is the debut of Petra Serhal’s new project on reconstructing Palestinian towns that have been occupied or wiped out since 1948 through the history of their smells.

Over two consecutive days, Petra Serhal will arrange the space in Takeover Beirut through her performative act of constructing, mapping, narrating and hammering, using aromatic materials to uncover the essence of these stolen lands.

After the genocide in Gaza started and the global awareness of the brutality of Israeli occupation grew, the idea of a free Palestine suddenly became possible. As a Lebanese citizen forbidden to enter Occupied Palestine, I felt the need to be ready for this possible future visit. I started talking to Palestinians who either lived in Palestine before 1948 or who are now living in Occupied Palestine, to take me on an olfactive and scenic journey to their homes, as a way to construct an understanding of the places soon to be visited. The memory of the land through its scents started reconstructing landscapes and homes that can never be occupied or wiped out.

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