A sculpture made from memories of Lebanon’s tragic explosion2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
On August 4 this year, there was a loud BANG in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. When people looked outside their homes, they saw a huge, grey cloud rushing towards them, and the shockwave sent cars toppling and left cracks on buildings that were even far away!
What was this bang?
A warehouse near the Beirut port had stored 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive substance, for over six years, and the entire thing had blown up! In the process, 190 people were killed, 6,000 injured and almost 3,00,000 people homeless! It was such a sad day for the city and left its people sad and heartbroken
So what does that have to do with a statue?
An artist, Hayat Nazer, based out of Beirut, was part of a group of volunteers who began picking up the debris from the explosion to clear the streets and rebuild the city. That’s when she had an idea.
Why not use all this debris to create something meaningful to represent the pain of the people? So, she decided to build an iconic sculpture with everything she could find.
She walked around the streets of Beirut for weeks, picking up broken glass, twisted metal and leftover belongings of people in broken buildings. She even approached people affected by the blast and requested them to give her anything they wanted as part of the sculpture. She found that people started giving her things that were very precious to them and realized how important this sculpture was.
The statue has a woman with flowing hair and dress, holding Lebanon’s flag. It signifies hope and determination in the wake of destruction.
With excerpts from CNN.
Owliver’s Fun Facts:
- Among the many pieces that Nazer found was a broken clock that had stopped at 6:08, the moment when the blast occured
- This isn’t Nazer’s first such sculpture. In 2019, she created one called “The Phoenix,” made from tents broken by counterprotesters during the country’s political problems. The sculpture is of the mythological bird, the phoenix, rising from the ashes
- She also created a giant heart from stones and tear gas canisters leftover from the riots