Mohamad Hafez (1984) was born in Damascus, raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and educated in the Midwestern United States. A New Haven-based architect, Hafez uses plaster, rigid foam, paint and found objects to create three dimensional architectural streetscapes, installations and wall murals of his native Syria that are deeply personal, photorealistic and surreal. Expressing the juxtaposition of East and West within him, Hafez’s art represents the urban fabric of the Middle East, and serves as a backdrop for his own political and social expression.

Responding to the atrocities of the Syrian war, Hafez’s recent work depicts cities besieged by conflict to capture the magnitude of the devastation and to expose the fragility of human life. In deliberate contrast to the violence, however, his art also imbues a subtle hopefulness through the incorporation of verses from the Qur’an. These verses are at the core of Hafez’s vision, endeavoring to kindle hope and raise spirits in the midst of so much devastation. Scenes reiterate narratives from the Qur’an in order to affirm that, even during the darkest of times, patience is necessary for the blossoming of life, and eventually, justice will prevail.

Hafez is deeply interested in a cross-disciplinary exploration of street art and realistic (yet ironic) sculptural representation. He purposefully draws a contrast between the scenes he creates and the messages contained in them. These messages could be verses from the Qur’an or sound recordings from his own pre-war trips to Syria.

The strength of Hafez’s work is that it immerses viewers in the present while simultaneously taking them on a trip to the not-so-distant past: pre-war Damascus, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Recreating ancient neighborhoods that no longer exist with astounding accuracy, and without inhabitants, Hafez sheds light on one of the worst humanitarian crises of modern day history; a crisis so grim that many choose not to acknowledge it and can no longer bear witness to its daily atrocities.

 

1984 :  Born in Damascus, Syria

85-99 :  Lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

99-04 :  Lived In Damascus, Syria

04-Present : Lives and works in New Haven, Connecticut

 

Education

2015: American Institute of Architects

AIA Architect License

2009 :  Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

Bachelors of Architecture

2004 :  Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

Studies in Art, Architecture and Electrical Engineering

2002 :  Damascus University, Damascus, Syria

Studies in Electronics and Communication

 

Solo Exhibitions

2016 :  Unsettled Nostalgia

the harts gallery, New Milford, Connecticut

2016 (upcoming) :  Sea Garbage

Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut

2016 (upcoming) : Conscious Sharpeners

Silliman College, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

2010 :  Facades

Kohn-Joseloff Gallery, Cheshire, Connecticut

 

Group Exhibitions

2015 :  A Moving Identity

NW Gallery, Cambridge, United Kingdom

2015 :  Refugees, a Story of Scars

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

2014 :  City Wide Open Studio

New Haven Armory, New Haven, Connecticut

2012 :  City Wide Open Studio

New Haven Armory, New Haven, Connecticut

2011 :  Memories of a Lost Nation

Aid All Syrians Organization, Washington, D.C.

2010 :  City Wide Open Studio

New Haven Armory, New Haven, Connecticut

2010 :  Selected Group Exhibition

Art Space Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

2010 :  Mine The Gap, Chicago Prize Competition Exhibit : 3rd Place Winner

Chicago, Illinois

2009 :  Conscious Sharpeners

College of Design, Iowa State University

2009 :  Shahidah, Site-Specific Installation

Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

2009 :  Selected Group Exhibition

Memorial Union, Ames, Iowa

2008 :  Neighbors We Don’t Talk To

Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa

2006 :  Selected Group Exhibition

Memorial Union, Ames, Iowa

 

Collections

Institution Quraysh - Law & Policy Service Provision, London, UK

Private Collection, Chicago, Illinois

Private Collection, Damascus, Syria

Private Collection, Dubai, UAE

Private Collection, Lexington, Kentucky

Private Collection, Tucson, Arizona

Private Collection, Washington, D.C.