- Copy: Dane Rahlf & Matt Norman
Built and installed on ground zero, the work is being put together with steel from the carcasses of destroyed hangars in the port area. The damaged steel beams are being used as they were found; literally sculptured by the explosion.
Karam has created the work as an act of memory and a gesture towards the immensity of and sadness that marks the people of Beirut, one year after the tragedy. Standing 25m high, and weighing about 35 tons, the work is a human figure made from the scars from the explosion. Referred to in Arabic as مارد من رماد (Giant from Ashes), it is huge in stature but tiny in relation to the scale of loss and destruction in Beirut.
The Gesture follows the line of projects within Karam’s practice responding to post-disaster contexts and seeking to assert the power of creativity over violence.
The project was initiated and created by Nadim Karam, developed by his studio and realized through the collective effort of many professionals: architects, engineers, water engineers, light designers, technicians, welders, photographers, film, planners, Port administrative staff, military, cultural institutions, graphic designers, printing house, communication experts and others who felt compelled to contribute their own gesture for Beirut in the wake of this disaster.
The Gesture is being achieved without a project budget: each person involved is giving his or her time, expertise, equipment or materials towards the development of the work, which has resulted in a large-scale communal pro bono endeavor to support this temporary symbol.
It is being offered to Beirut to initiate a cathartic process for the grief at the loss of lives, homes and an important part of the city.