Pianist who survived Beirut blast sculpts a grand piano from the rubble

17 August 2020, 14:43

Raymond Essayan
Raymond Essayan. Picture: Getty

By Kyle Macdonald

Literally picking up the pieces after a city was shattered – this is a powerful reminder that even through destruction, grief and tragedy, art stands strong.

The explosions of 4 August 2020 at the port of Beirut left large parts of the city devastated, lives lost, and homes ruined.

Artist and pianist Raymond Essayan suffered concussion in the blast, and his home was destroyed.

In the Lebanon capital, many are still coming to terms with the live-changing destruction. For Essayan, the process involved turning to art and music.

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Raymond Essayan in Beirut
Raymond Essayan in Beirut. Picture: Getty

Using debris from the blast, Essayan created a sculpture of a grand piano. He also completed a composition he’d been working on, imbuing it with the feelings of the moment.

The piano is formed of debris from the blast. Paneling, window shutters, doors and fallen decor are all arranged in the form of the great instrument.

Essayan plays his artwork
Essayan plays his artwork. Picture: Getty

The explosion at Beirut’s port killed over 200 people, injured thousands, and upended countless lives and will forever change the city and its inhabitants.

The abstract silhouette of the piano, in the ruins of a once-grand room, feels a poignant expression of loss, disorientation and destruction, with a glimmer of music’s power to help piece together shattered lives.

Raymond Essayan
Raymond Essayan. Picture: Getty