Conversation, To Scale, to Complicate: Responding to War, Violence, and Migration

Mohamad Hafez, Baggage Series #4, 2016. Plaster, paint, antique suitcase, found objects, and foam. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Maher Mahmoud

New Haven–based Syrian artist and architect Mohamad Hafez dynamically reproduces the war-torn landscapes of contemporary Syria in his sculptural artworks, which urgently reflect on the conditions of forced migration that informed his family’s relocations. Hafez’s artistic practice and public voice complicate the representation of contemporary violence by insisting on the entangled relationships between home and homeland, refuge and security, and art and politics. Hafez joins Najwa Mayer, Ph.D. candidate in American Studies, for a conversation about his creative process and his political intervention. Presented in conjunction with the exhibitions Artists in Exile: Expressions of Loss and Hope at the Yale University Art Gallery and Critical Refuge: Sculptures by Mohamad Hafez at the Whitney Humanities Center. This conversation is part of the Malbin Program Series: Studies and Stories of Exile. Generously sponsored by the Lydia Winston Malbin Fund.