Where Do I Go?

لوين روح

2 years later

Where Do I go?
Two Years Later

Project Statement

Where Do I Go? started in 2020 when I went to Lebanon right after the Port Explosions of August 4. The country had been already going through months of protests against a corrupt government and months of Covid-19 lockdown. The explosions plunged Lebanon into the abyss.

I was in awe of the young generation, especially the women, who were cleaning the debris and volunteering in the reconstruction. I found myself focusing on them against a backdrop of the unique textures of the country: layered walls of Beirut, Mediterranean seascape, raw mountains, traditional and often abandoned buildings, and the many layers of destruction accumulated over years of Lebanese Civil War and numerous conflicts to ultimately this last massive human catastrophe.

Eventually a large movement of emigration began amongst this younger generation.

I saw my younger self in these young women. I was their age when I left Lebanon in 1984 during the largest wave of emigration until now.

I viscerally felt their hopes, their pains, their dreams, their fears, their dilemmas.

In what I see as a self-portrait, I started collaborating with these women – the ones who are leaving and the ones who are staying – telling their story: our collective story. The collaboration is intense, creative, emotional, and immensely personal.

The past few months, I felt a shift. During the summer of the second anniversary of the explosions, many people were present: those who never left, those who left and moved back, and others who left and started a life in Europe, Canada, Dubai, or the US, but temporarily came back.

History repeating itself.

I left Lebanon 38 years ago and I keep going back. I am most inspired in Lebanon, by the texture, the beauty, the people, the creativity, the craziness – all of it. I have a visceral attachment to the place. I might have left Lebanon and created a life in the United States for me and for my family, but Lebanon never left me.

For this generation, it will be the same – they might leave but they truly never will. Just like me.