"Perfumes, colors and sounds", the words of Baudelaire fly to the traces of a romantic poet.
Osmoart is invited to Djibouti.
I left a cold France for the light rains of the Gulf of Tadjourah.
I am greeted by Christelle Barbera and Jacques Sabarots of the French Institute Arthur Rimbaud.
Our mission is to create a fragrance festival.
I carry in my luggage exotic perfumes and the "imagynez".
They will be installed in the entrance of the Cultural Center as an olfactory exhibition and animation for the pleasure of young and old Djiboutian noses.
In the green theater, a market of scents is organizing.
It is run by women.
The profane perfume is theirs
Some shape the "fol", the Arabian jasmine, cultivated in the gardens of Ambouli.
Its fragrance is a symbol of joy and love.
One evening, it was the conference theme.
These flowers are traditionally worn for weddings as a necklace, a headband or as shaped earrings.
It comes with a green herb called "Machmoum".
The word derives from the Arabic verb "chamma" and translates: "that you can feel good for the living."
This plant with aphrodisiac powers is placed in the hair and the marriage bed.
Other spaces were reserved for oriental perfumery shops.
On the shelves were deposited many multicolored bottles decorated with arabesques and gilding.
They contained scented variations with the common name of "Oud".
This name was also mentioned for the prepared incense used to perfume their homes and clothing; long dresses and colorful shawls called "Shalma".
I met Masso and Ajna of the Afar ethnic group.
They came especially for the event to display the perfumed manufacture of their community.
A recipe of oral culture handed down from mother to daughter.
They pounded the bark of trees and specially selected resins, mixed with sugar and butter from goats or cattle.
Then they added a fragrant potion kept secret by their grandmother.
Beyond the cultural center, I have an educational opportunity with children at an elementary school.
I present the perfumer's art to students and teachers of the French high school.
I only have a few moments to experience the chants from the mosque, the heat and the khat in the capital city.
I discovered the delicious Ethiopian cuisine.
The meal ended with the coffee ceremony during which the Ethiopian burn frankincense tears, a sign of hospitality.
We did research with Jean François Breton of the Embassy of France in the presence of frankincense trees and myrrh.
I visited the lands next to Lake Assal where the caravans were led by the poet and arms dealers now carry pearls of salt.
I will remember this intense trip especially the motto of this country (Unity, Equality, Peace) and olfactory thoughts that I shared with Christelle, Jacques, Jean–Francois, Masso, Ajna, Madina and many more …
I dedicate this excerpt of Arthur Rimbaud’s "Sensation" to my wife Diana who made me a happy man.
I shall not speak, I shall think about nothing:
But endless love will mount in my soul;
And I shall travel far, very far, like a gipsy,
Through the countryside – as happy as if I were with a woman.
And also for my niece Tifaine who came into this world after this olfactory journey, which made me a happy uncle.
All art is courtesy of Pierre Benard
-Pierre Bénard (NEZZEN)
Osmoart, parfums, couleurs et sons.