Armenian Jerusalem
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World-renowned Armenian artist Marie Balian spent months preparing an original mural as a gift for the people of Jerusalem. Six meters tall and four meters wide, her fabulous artwork contains close to 1,000 colored tiles. Balian’s unique method involved sketching in charcoal on the tiles, designing and painting them and then burning them in the oven. Afterwards, each was fit into the whole picture. The mural offers a view of heaven and earth separated by a palm tree, and features a peacock, a deer eating leaves from a lemon tree, a cypress waving in the wind and fish jumping out of the water. No people appear in the mural, which gives off a wonderful aura of serenity. Balian’s masterpieces are exhibited all over the world from the Eretz Israel Museum of Tel Aviv to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. But when she proudly presented her creation to Jerusalem’s mayor, Balian probably expected it to be shown in a major municipal spot. Instead, it ended up on a whitewashed exterior wall along a run- down, nondescript downtown street (Koresh Street) that few people bother to visit.