Port of Beirut, Lebanon
The Gesture is a large-scale temporary sculpture created in response to the 2020 August 4th blast that destroyed the port of Beirut and its surroundings, killing hundreds of people and leaving more than 300 000 homeless. Installed on ground zero, the work was put together over nine months using the scrap metal of wrecked hangars retrieved from the port area. The project was implemented with the support of a community of professionals who contributed materials, manpower or expertise, it intends to offer a gesture of solidarity and hope to the city. It was inaugurated at Beirut port on August 2nd, 2021.
Conceived as an act of memory, the work inscribes itself in the responses to post-disaster contexts within Karam’s practice, asserting the power of creativity over violence. In 2006, he said; “Cities, countries and the world are caught in a tide of nihilism whose protagonists believe that destruction is a solution. There should be a hundred times more creative effort to resist what is being negated.” [Urban Toys]
Karam is a native to Beirut, where he still lives and works. Of Beirut, he states; “I grew in this city. I also have the impression that I died here more than one time”.