I arrived from Pakistan intoxicated with the Taliban, chai, and burkas, and I found an alien country wrapped in nostalgia, with silicone women and night parties. Those were times with more doubts than certainties when I discovered a vital gap between the glamorous image projected by the city and the lack of electricity and water that I gradually accepted with resignation in my daily life.
And within this chaos I found calm. I discovered that it was not the pieces that were upside down but the way I looked at them. Over time I discovered that Lebanon was no longer an alien country filled with stories of refugees, domestic workers, masquerades, and the specter of civil war, and sectarianism. On August 4, 2020, a part of me died in the shadow of the fateful explosion that took the lives of more than 200 people. I discovered that Lebanon had become a part of me, of us.
In a painful way, the feeling of temporality was transformed into belonging, loss, and mourning. The revolution, the shadow of the explosion, COVID, and the deterioration of living conditions by leaps and bounds seemed to engulf the legacy of the past, breaking through impenetrable social walls and hitting, like an overflowing torrent, the entire society languishing in an induced coma.
Lebanon asks me to tell its story, which is also my story, to create a memory on the shores of the Mediterranean.
My aim is to create a visual testament through my personal life experience. The Phoenician Collapse doesn’t pretend to be the only truth of the collapse of this unique country, nor is it a history book, but it is a window of the decline of an era that I lived through.
Lebanon is an amalgam of 17 different sects converging and collapsing on the shores of Mare Nostrum. Without pictures, there is no memory. Without memory, there is no hope for a better future.