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Meet the Lebanese artist who has created the heart of revolution

A sculpture by artist Hayat Nazer delivers a message of compassion, peace and reconciliation amid the going protests in Beirut.

BEIRUT — A statue of a huge heart has stood on Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square since Valentine’s Day. When darkness sets in, its neon lights illuminate the whole area, casting a heart-shaped shadow on the so-called Wall of Shame, a concrete-and-metal structure built to keep protesters away from the doorsteps of the legislature. The Lebanese artist Hayat Nazer created the installation, filling a heart of barbed wire with tear gas canisters and stones.

Born and raised in Tripoli, Nazer is a self-taught visual artist and a graduate of the American University in Beirut. Her work with NGOs and humanitarian-focused international organizations has been a source of inspiration for some of her artistic projects. For the heart, Nazer collected the remains of tear gas canisters that security forces had lobbed at protesters, rocks the protesters had thrown at the security forces, and barbed wire and sections of concrete similar to the barriers positioned at the entrance to the parliament building. She erected the sculpture on Feb. 14 on the square that became the heart of the protests ongoing since October 17. 

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