Artist Mohamad Hafez Exhibition in Schumacher Gallery Jan. 14 to March 1

"Homeland InSecurity" – an exhibition by artist Mohamad Hafez – will be on display in the Schumacher Gallery from Jan. 14 through March 1.

Artist Mohamad Hafez Exhibition in Schumacher Gallery Jan. 14 to March 1

"Homeland InSecurity" – an exhibition of works by artist Mohamad Hafez that reflect the political turmoil in the Middle East through the compilation of found objects, paint, and scrap metal – will be on display at Westover's Schumacher Gallery from January 14 through March 1. An all-school assembly and a gallery reception with the artist will be held in the School's Louise B. Dillingham Performing Arts Center on Friday, January 18, starting at 6:30 pm; the event is open to the public.

A Syrian artist and architect, Hafez was born in Damascus, raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and educated in the Midwestern United States. Expressing the juxtaposition of East and West within him and using his architectural skills, Hafez creates surrealistic Middle Eastern streetscapes that are architectural in their appearance yet politically charged in their content.

Responding to the atrocities of the Syrian war, Hafez's recent work depicts cities besieged by civil war to capture the magnitude of the devastation and to expose the fragility of human life. However, in deliberate contrast to the violence of war, his art imbues a subtle hopefulness through its deliberate incorporation of verses from the Holy Quran. At the core of Hafez's work, the verses offer a distinct contrast between the stark pessimistic reality of destruction and the optimistic hope of a bright future. Scenes reiterate narratives from the Qur'an to affirm that, even during the darkest of times, patience is necessary for the blossoming of life and that, eventually, justice will prevail.

Hafez said his work reflects his deep interest in the cross-disciplinary exploration of street art and the realistic, yet ironic sculptural work. He purposefully infuses a stark contrast between the scenes he creates and the messages imbued in his work, connecting what he describes as his "deeply troubled soul" to his western audience through his miniature cityscapes. He writes, "My emotions want to yell out. And I cannot console myself in anything other than this highly detailed work."

His artwork has recently been featured in several highly acclaimed exhibitions and profiled in National Public Radio, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. Hafez 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.

In addition to Hafez's own works, a new piece will be revealed that was created in collaboration with Visual Art teacher Sara Poskas and students from her fall term class, Exploration and Expressions.

Hafez's exhibition and his work with the Exploration and Expressions class is the second of three special programs being offered to the Westover community this school year that are being underwritten by the School's Walker Fund.

Westover's Schumacher Gallery is located in the Louise B. Dillingham Performing Arts Center on South Street. Visitors must access the gallery through the main entrance of the School. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 12 noon until 5 pm and Saturdays from 1 to 5 pm; it is closed on Sundays.