In early August, a huge explosion in the port destroyed much of the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Artists are also struggling with the consequences. A statue made of rubble by artist Hayat Nazer should give hope for a new beginning.
Like many city residents, Nazer helped to clean up after the blast. It was then that she came up with the idea of using pieces she found to create a statue that could inspire people to unite and begin rebuilding Beirut.
"The explosion broke my heart. I was just devastated. I was traumatized, but honestly, all of us in Lebanon are traumatized. When I'm feeling that way I just try to help, and fix and heal through art, so this is my way of accepting reality and trying to build my people back up,"the artist said in the interview with CNN
For weeks, Nazer walked the streets of Beirut, collecting twisted metal, broken glass and people's discarded belongings to use in the sculpture.
"I traveled 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."
When Nazer finally had enough items, she put them together — creating a woman raising Lebanon's flag, her hair and dress flowing in the wind. The sculpture, which still doesn't have a name, even features a damaged clock stuck at 6:08, the moment of the explosion.
For Nazer, the process was cathartic.
"After an explosion, you can build back homes and buildings, but what you can't bring back are memories. And throughout Lebanon's history, our government removes anything that reminds us of what has been done to us," Nazer said.
"That's what makes this project so special. It's fighting. We're raising our voices through art. We're telling our own stories."