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Roger Mokbel | Describe the Sky to Me

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Country of origin: Lebanon
Project location: Lebanon
Program: Arab Documentary Photography Program
Year: 2018

Lay your head where my heart used to be
Hold the earth above me
Lay down on the green grass
Remember when you loved me

Don’t say goodbye to me
Describe the sky to me
And if the sky falls, mark my words
We’ll catch mockingbirds

In Tom Waits’ song, the deceased lover is asking his graveyard’s visitor to simply describe the sky to him - something taken for granted, something out of his reach now, something that he misses.

Under the Yerevan Bridge in Bourj Hammoud Lebanon, one of the most densely populated areas in the Middle-East, the feeling is the same for a population ‘buried alive.' This project is a deep-dive underneath the alien structure of the Yerevan highway bridge in order to shed light on a population that is already suffering from social injustices. For the sake of so-called modernization and urban development, they are now also deprived from their basic right of accessing light.

By focusing on the Bourj Hammoud case, the project aims at highlighting the dysfunctional urban planning in Lebanon, and some might argue in the Arab world. This documentary work seeks to reveal, through the urban environment, the struggle of the individuals living in these landscapes.