This isn’t the first time that Hayat Nazer has used art in the hope of conveying a powerful message to her peers.
The Lebanese artist and social activist runs a successful Instagram account where she shares her inspiring work, among which are graffiti, paintings, and The Phoenix, a statue she created in 2019 when a wave of political protests washed over her home country.
Now Nazer, 33, has unveiled her latest piece: a gorgeous statue she created out of twisted metal, broken glass, and debris she collected from the devastating explosion that struck the Beirut port on Aug. 4, killing hundreds of people.
Hayat Nazer's latest piece: a gorgeous statue she created out of twisted metal, broken glass, and debris she collected from the devastating explosion that struck the Beirut port on Aug. 4, killing hundreds of people.
The unnamed sculpture, which showcases a damaged clock marking the time of the explosion (6.08 p.m.), depicts a woman holding Lebanon’s flag with her hair flowing in the wind.
In an interview with CNN, the artist said the piece was a cathartic way of channelling her grief and emotions into something beautiful, inspiring others to stay united and rebuild the country that’s been devastated by an unprecedented political and economic crisis.
Lebanese artist Hayat Nazer sculpted a woman out of the rubble from the Beirut port explosion. The statue is made of broken glass, building debris, household items, and a broken clock at the base that reads 6:08 pm, the time the explosion shook the city pic.twitter.com/Cmkp20jUQi— NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 26, 2020
"The explosion broke my heart. I was just devastated,” Nazer said. “I was traumatized, but honestly, all of us in Lebanon are traumatized.”
“When I'm feeling that way, I just try to help, fix, and heal through art — so this is my way of accepting reality and trying to build my people back up,” she added.
Nazer told CNN she spent weeks making her way through the city to gather debris and personal belongings from residents.
Watch & share if u’d like to participate in #LadyOfTheWorld #Memorial #Sculpture for the next generations to always remember what #Beirut and its people had gone through... Because we do not want to forget and we will not forgive! .#بيروت_أم_الدنيا #انفجار_بيروت #لبنان_ينتفض #ثورة #بداية_وطن #لبنان #بيروت #ست_الدنيا #beirutexplosion #lebanon #lebaneserevolution #ladyoftheworld #justice #art #sculpture #revolution #phoenix
In a video posted on Instagram, the artist had called on her followers to help collect these items as part of an effort that would soon turn out to be an intensely emotional process.
"I travelled to people's homes after they were destroyed by the explosion and told them, 'I just want you to give me anything I can include to make you a part of my sculpture,’” Nazer said. “I was shocked. People gave me such valuable things — things from their childhood, their grandparents who died in the civil war, things they wanted to save for their children. So many emotions went into this.”
Following the explosion, the Global Aid for Lebanon campaign was launched by XO Records CEO Wassim “Sal” Slaiby, in collaboration with Global Citizen and the UN World Food Programme. Hundreds of donors contributed to the campaign to help support victims of the blast, raising more than $1.2 million by August.
But the memory of this tragic event is still vivid in the mind of Nazer and many others.
According to Al Jazeera, the statue can now be admired opposite the site of the explosion, but only time will tell whether or not it will remain there, as other works from Nazer were previously destroyed by local authorities, CNN reported.