Even for those who lived through it, it’s still difficult to grasp the extent of the damage wrought by the enormous explosion that ripped through Beirut on Aug. 4, 2020. The blast, caused by 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate improperly stored in a warehouse in the city’s port, killed more than 200 people and injured over 6,000.
Holes were blasted in masonry, balconies plummeted to earth, ceilings collapsed, and millions of windows across the city exploded into fragments, displacing an estimated 300,000 people from their homes.
The explosion devastated the city’s unique Ottoman and French-era architectural heritage, and brought its arts and cultural sector to a grinding halt. Almost every art space, gallery, and institution in the city was damaged, and some were totally destroyed. In the absence of a government-led response to the explosion, the burden of cleaning up and repairing has largely fallen to volunteers, charities, and