Syrian devastation captured in New Haven artists stunning sculptures


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Step inside the New Haven art studio of Mohamad Hafez and you’ll soon be transported to the war torn streets of Syria.

“You can’t go on with your normal day to day job, life, if you are exposing yourself to bad news from your home country,” said Hafez.

Hafez was born in Syria and raised in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

His day job is now a Connecticut architect, but away from the office his art studio is a sanctuary.

“I come in here, I play my music, it’s a little on the sad tone. I go into a meditative state, I really do,” said Hafez.

His art provides an outlet to the horrors happening in his homeland.

“I’m somewhere else, I’m there. To get there I look at all the images from ground,” said Hafez.

Pictures from places like Aleppo.

In over five years the Syrian conflict and war has left almost half a million people dead.

The goal of Hafez is to create awareness to the atrocities by making his art as realistic as possible.

“If a bomb falls on a building you’ll expose concrete slabs, you’ll expose wiring infrastructure electricity…lighting,” said Hafez.

So real, stare long enough and you’ll become lost inside the bombed out buildings.

Hafez even recorded songs from his parent’s porch while back in Damascus.

It’s the details that truly capture the magnitude of the destruction.

“You are going to see some foreign objects that cause the viewer to say, was that part of the original building or shrapnel or a bomb? Or a tank that blew up – what was that? That’s what you see in rubble. Then try calling that home,’ said Hafez.

He uses found objects.

Anything and everything, like circuit boards and Christmas ornaments.

“Normal day to day – insulators, capacitors. This is a roofing nail. What I see in this is rather a mortar shell that fell from the sky,’ said Hafez.

Like the thousands of bombs dropped, the mission is to make an impact.

“For me to witness with my own eyes that culture that civilization being decimated into dust, its indescribable feeling,” said Hafez.

For Hafez, there is no doubt the great price paid is in human life, but the loss doesn’t end there.

“Some of us, architects and archaeologists have to weep and mourn the cultural and architectural loss, that’s is what I do in my work – mourning the dead, ancient cities in Syria,” said Hafez.