Arts News


Syrian Artist and Architect Mohamad Hafez to Speak


Syrian Artist and Architect Mohamad Hafez will speak at the Academy on Thursday, September 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the Stuart Black Box Theater in the Charles Hosmer Morse Center for the Arts. Mr. Hafez will offer a very personal view of what it is like for an upper class family from Damascus, Syria to become forced migrants, shedding light on their lives before and after, decision points, forced hands, and adjustment to new realities. This will be an opportunity to better understand what the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II looks like to an individual and family who have been through it. He will also talk about his art, which is currently on display at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.

Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez was born in Damascus, raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and educated in the Midwestern United States. According to his website, "Expressing the juxtaposition of East and West within him, Hafez's art reflects the political turmoil in the Middle East through the compilation of found objects, paint and scrap metal. Using his architectural skills, Hafez creates surrealistic Middle Eastern streetscapes that are architectural in their appearance yet politically charged in their content."

Hafez's artwork has recently been featured in four highly acclaimed exhibitions and profiled in Connecticut Public Radio and The New York Times. The show currently on display at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is entitled Unsettled Nostalgia. According to the Athenaeum's website, it is a "multimedia installation that incorporates pre-war wall murals, sculpture depicting the post-war reality, miniature elements, and photography focusing on the war and the current refugee crisis."

Headmaster Tom Lovett said, "I have seen Mohamad's exhibit and found it deeply moving. Even more moving is his story of how his family has been affected by the war in Syria and how he has successfully helped refugee families to settle in the New Haven area. Mohamad is a passionate and articulate spokesperson for these victims of violence. I strongly encourage all those interested in Syria, displaced families, or humanitarian efforts to help refugees to attend this talk. I would love to see all the seats in the Stuart Black Box Theater filled as a sign of our community's solidarity with those who are affected by this crisis."

Further information about Mohamad Hafez, his life, and his art can be found at mohamadhafez.com.

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