An interior mural of the face of Lebanon’s revered poet Kahlil Gibran, partially destroyed and trapped between broken roof tiles and scattered debris, peeking out through an entirely collapsed wall. It sums up the devastation wrought on Lebanon’s heritage by the blast on August 4 in Beirut.
“When I first saw it I got goosebumps,” says Lebanese photographer Dia Mrad, the man behind this image, which has since gone viral “I think, with that photo, I was able to capture everything that we were all feeling at that point; complete devastation. The look in Gibran’s eyes was very expressive to a lot of people — the way that anger mixed with sadness and disappointment showed on his face.”
As Lebanon continues to suffer the simultaneous crises of an all-but nonexistent government, an unprecedented economic collapse, and the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrad has made it his mission to document the damaged facades of buildings, including palaces and estates, and their shattered interiors. Some of them date back to the late 1800s when Lebanon was under Ottoman rule.