by Ayesha Shaikh
  • 1 minute read
  • August 04, 2021
Never Forget: Tapestries Hung Across Beirut Are An Ode To The 2020 Blast Victims

Exactly one year ago, a massive explosion worth 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate devastated the city of Beirut, claiming the lives of over 200 people and leaving countless injured. Shortly after the incident that sent shockwaves around the world, sisters Celine and Tatiana Stephan, architects and founders of Architecture et Mecanismes, began collecting more than a 100 testimonials from those affected by the blast, according to The National.

Since May this year, they’ve been using them to create urban installations, so that the victims and their stories can be immortalized. Titled the ‘Beirut Narratives’, the project involves covering buildings with large tapestries of jute bags that have been sewn together, alluding to the torn fabric of Beirut.

Image via @Selectionsarts on Instagram

They feature quotes, photographs and drawings about the victims’ experiences and the trauma they continue to endure. Words like ‘Humiliating’, ‘Scared’, and ‘Helpless’ on the tapestries are reminiscent of the sentiments of those who have lived through the horror of 4 August 2020. In addition to the written testimonials in English, Arabic and French, the installations also showcase children’s drawings, which describe their personal experiences.

13 installations have been erected since May in the neighborhoods of Gemmayzeh, Mar Mikhael and Karantina, which are the closest to the blast site. Among the most recent tapestries that marks the first anniversary of the explosion is one that’s dedicated to the 10 firefighters from the Beirut Fire Brigade, who were among the first responders and lost their lives.

Cover image via @Selectionsarts on Instagram.

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