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Mohamad Hafez, who was born in Syria and is a permanent resident of the United States, is an architect and artist currently residing with his family in New Haven, CT. The artwork featured in Homeland inSecurity came out of Hafez’s pained response to seeing media coverage of his homeland obliterated by a war that has turned more than 11 million Syrians into refugees.
When Hafez first moved to the United States in 2003 on a student visa to study architecture, he discovered that his visa was only valid for one entry. Being Muslim, and having a name like Mohamad in a Post 9/11 America, meant that visiting home was to risk never being allowed back into the United States again.
He spent the next eight years in the US without once seeing his homeland. Hafez coped with his homesickness by creating highly detailed and intricate miniature models of the neighborhoods he had wandered about and sketched with loving detail as a teenager. But as time went on, Hafez began modeling the effects that the bombing was having on Syria’s buildings, homes, and streets as a reflection of his pain at the deep and unfathomable loss his country was experiencing.
Homeland inSecurity will showcase twenty sculptures and installation works by Hafez, some of which feature lighting and sounds recorded in Syria, allowing viewers a multisensory experience. Says Hafez of the exhibition opportunity, “My art is a voice for the Syrian refugees, for Muslim Americans, for forced migrants. I understand the fear of the unknown. But I hope people will come to this exhibit, perhaps meet me and talk about my work with me, and let us find the common ground that connects us all as human beings.”