UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage seeks to humanize the word “refugee.” For 6 weeks (February 5- March 15, 2020), the School of Human Ecology will host this multi-media installation featuring the sculptures of Mohamad Hafez, a Syrian-born, Connecticut-based artist and architect who re-creates war-torn domestic interiors within suitcases, as well as interviews with the refugees who fled those exact homes conducted by Iraqi-born Wesleyan University student Ahmed Badr. Pieces from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection will be placed in dialogue with Hafez and Badr’s work to further explore themes of loss, protection, and family.
The exhibition tells the stories of different refugees through artist Mohamad Hafez’s miniaturized recreations of a moment in time or memory recollected and accompanied by an audio component with the story told in their own words. Each story is unique, yet each story tells of a great sense of loss coupled with the courage and force of will it took each refugee to leave their home. Hafez sculpturally re-creates rooms, homes, buildings and landscapes that have suffered the ravages of war. Each is embedded with the voices and stories of real people — from Afghanistan, Congo, Syria, Iraq and Sudan — who have escaped those same rooms and buildings to build a new life in America.
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