A New Exhibition: Mohamad Hafez: Collateral Damage
The exhibition is presented by Fairfield University Art Museum, opening on October 25 with the artist’s talk and reception.
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Oct. 10, 2018)—The Fairfield University Art Museum presents the new exhibition Mohamad Hafez: Collateral Damagein the museum’s Walsh Gallery from October 26 – December 15, 2018.Born in Damascus, Syria, raised in Saudi Arabia, and educated in the Midwestern U.S., artist and architect Mohamad Hafez explores the impact of the political turmoil of the Middle East through hyper-realistic streetscapes crafted from found objects, paint, and scrap metal. Architectural in appearance yet politically charged in content, his miniaturized tableaus are alternately nostalgic, charming, and deeply painful.
Hafez’s work has been highlighted in feature articles in The New Yorkermagazine and The New York Times, and his work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions including Artists in Exile: Expression of Loss and Hope(Fall 2017) at the Yale University Art Gallery, with new work currently included in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum entitled, Syria, Then and Now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart (October 13, 2018-January 13, 2019).
This exhibition features a selection of work across multiple projects, including the site-specific installation Sea Garbage,as well as pieces from his Baggageseries, in which the artist creates tableaus suggestive of the experience of refugees, many of whom are forced to flee their homes at short notice, or with only as much as they can carry, and places them inside vintage suitcases.
Mohamad Hafez: Collateral Damagealso features selected works by two contemporary Syrian artists, photographer and digital artist Hala el-Abed and filmmaker Waref abu Quba, which explore themes of violence and loss centered on the Syrian refugee crisis.
The museum plans a full slate of programming to complement this exhibition. On Opening Night, Thursday, October 25, in the Quick Center for the Arts’ Kelley Theatre, Mohamad Hafez will give a talk at 5 p.m. highlighting his experience growing up in Syria and sharing the stories of his family members’ flights to safety. He will also talk about how he has channeled his obsession with the destruction of his homeland into his art making. The artist’s talk will be immediately followed by the exhibition opening reception featuring Syrian cuisine, from 6-7:30 p.m.
JUHAN (the Jesuit University Humanitarian Action Network) will present a Refugee Camp Simulation on Tuesday, November 6 from 6-7:30 p.m.in the Lobby of the Quick Center for the Arts. Immediately following, the museum will present a screening of the acclaimed 2017 film, Human Flow (2017), directed by contemporary Chinese artist and activist Ai Wei Wei, (written by Chin Chin Yap, Tim Finch, and Boris Cheshirkov). Admission is freebut donations will be accepted at the door for CIRI (Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants). Fairfield University film professor, Dr. Patrick Brooks will introduce the film, which will be shown in the Kelley Theatre.
On Monday, November 12, at 7:00 p.m. the museum is excited to welcome backFaraz Khanforan Arabic Calligraphy workshop.Khan, an American Islamic calligrapher and 2015 artist-in-residence at the Arts Council of Princeton University, will do demonstrations and will provide materials and instruction. This event is presented in partnership with the Muslim Student Association.
A Forum on the Worldwide Refugee Crisis is planned for Tuesday, November 13, 3:30-6:15 p.m.This event will feature two sessions. Panel 1:The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Impact of Politics on Humanitarian Action. Panelists include Dr. Silvia Marsans-Sakly (assistant professor, History, Fairfield University), Charles MacCormack (former president, Save the Children), and Firas Kayal (UNHCR senior policy advisor).
Panel 2: The Global Refugee Crisis and the Definition of “Refugee”— Refugees and Cultural Integration. Panelists include Claudia Connor (president, CIRI), artist Mohamad Hafez, and Deo Byakisaka (refugee services case manager, CIRI). The forum will take place in the Barone Campus Center, Dogwood Room. There will be a break for refreshments and conversation between the 2 panels.
A Sudanese-American Coffee Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 14, from 12 noon – 2:00 p.m.Representatives of the Sudanese-American House in New Britain, Conn. will demonstrate how to prepare and serve traditional Sudanese coffee in the lower level lounge of the Barone Campus Center.This program ispresented in partnership with the Office of Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and the Arabic Studies Program. Later that evening join members of Fairfield’s Arabic Language Club at 7 p.m. for a Workshop: Learn Arabic in 30 Minutes! This fun introductory language lesson — teaching basic greetings, introductions, and more will take place in the museum’s Walsh Gallery.
Front: Mohamad Hafez, Hiraeth,2017. Plaster, paint, rusted metal, foundobjects, rigid foam
Vol. 51, # 26
Fairfield University is a modern, Jesuit Catholic university rooted in one of the world’s oldest intellectual and spiritual traditions. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students from the U.S. and across the globe are pursuing degrees in the University’s five schools. Fairfield embraces a liberal humanistic approach to education, encouraging critical thinking, cultivating free and open inquiry, and fostering ethical and religious values. The University is located on a stunning 200-acre campus on the scenic Connecticut coast just an hour from New York City.