Mohamad Hafez

“In today’s political climate, if I introduce myself to the normal Joe as Mohamad — a Muslim, Arab, Syrian artist — they have already judged me two million ways. So I learned to keep my mouth shut and make artwork that speaks to many people. Then it grows on you organically.” 

1984 born Damascus, Syria and lives in New Haven, USA.

Mohamad Hafez is an interdisciplinary artist and architect born in Syria, raised in Saudi Arabia and educated in the Midwestern United States. A self-taught sculptor, Mohamad uses his expertise as a licensed AIA architect as well as his lived experience of Damascus’s rich built environment to create poetic streetscapes high in fidelity and charged in content. His sculptural compilations of paint, metal, and found objects anchor uneasy conversations, stimulating deeper audience engagement on contentious topics like torture and prisoner abuse, child starvation in Africa, or the ongoing global refugee crisis.

Mohamad studied at Damascus University and Northern Illinois University before earning his B.Arch. at Iowa State University in 2009. He began practicing sculpture shortly after coming to the U.S. in 2003, out of homesickness and nostalgia provoked by prohibitive Bush-era NSEERS travel restrictions. Mohamad has exhibited at The Brooklyn Museum, UNICEF House, NYC; Orlando Museum of Art, Florida; Yale Art Gallery, New Haven; and Contemporary Art Platform, Kuwait, among others. He has received national attention in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Boston Globe, AJ+, Global Citizen, and NPR. He is currently full-time with the firm Pickard Chilton and was Project Lead Designer on the 2017 50-story, 1.5 million GSF office tower 609 Main in downtown Houston, TX.

Mohamad is the recipient of a 2018 Connecticut Arts Hero Award for his extensive and continuous body of work on issues such as the Syrian civil war, the worldwide refugee crisis, and an overall desire to counter hate speech. He serves as a 2018 Yale University Silliman College Fellow.

Profile Photo by Cole Wilson

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