“Every morning, one of my parents would ring the bell installed above their bed. The sound produced would exit in the kitchen. A couple of minutes later, Maria would enter the room serving tea for the master and coffee for the madam. She would repeat this phrase every morning. Well, to be more accurate, my father used to drink hot water with sugar and not tea. As a young child in apartheid South Africa, I would lie in my parents’ bed and witness this daily ritual. Maria was a second mother to me.”
Drawing inspiration from his personal experience, after his performance installation “ Tea for the master, coffee for the madam” acquired by the START collection, Ariel Reichmann has embarked in a new exciting project called Maria. In order to glorify and acknowledge the domestic worker, Ariel decides to talk about the unspoken story of Maria, a symbol for “every” domestic workers who dedicate their life to become mothers of millions of others’ children.
22 years later, Ariel went back to his native Johannesburg to find his beloved nanny and retrace Maria’s story. He hanged all around the city more than 250 drawings of her. Walls, bus stations, parks, buildings - Ariel used any empty corner that he could find in the urban space to celebrate his gratitude towards Maria.
From this very urge of going back to his origins, to the people who have influenced him during the most important years of his life, Ariel explores the paradox that concern “all Marias” during an historical period in which black people had no rights, no life choice and yet chose to love and educate “white children” as their own.