Western Connecticut State University presents “No Place Like Home: Exploring the Sights, Sounds and Tastes of the Middle East” with Artist Mohamad Hafez and Guests” from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, at the Veronica Hagman Concert Hall in the WCSU Visual and Performing Arts Center at 43 Lake Ave. Extension, Danbury.
This event is free to the public, although there is limited ticket availability at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com. Participants will learn about acclaimed artist Mohamad Hafez, his art and the Middle Eastern culture through history, film, music, storytelling and cuisine. Hafez currently has an art exhibition “Unsettled Nostalgia” in The Gallery at WCSU’s Visual and Performing Arts Center until March 6, sponsored by WCSU’s Department of Art.
Offering a variety of perspectives, the presenters will educate the audience about their cultural heritage by sharing personal stories, music, art and food to deepen understanding and appreciation for Arabic culture. Joined by other guests, they will focus on the traditions of the Middle East, illuminating the region’s beauty and diversity, encouraging connection and empathy, and fostering dialogue and understanding.
This event is funded in part by a grant from the CT Humanities Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and WCSU organizations the Office of Diversity and Equity, Office of Intercultural Affairs and the Kathwari Honors Program. Tickets are required for this event and reservations must be made in advance at www.wcsuvpac.eventbrite.com.
Gallery hours for Hafez’s exhibit are Tuesday-Friday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Face masks and social distancing protocol are required for both the exhibit and the March 3 event.
During the fall 2021 semester Hafez shared his deeply personal exploration of the concepts of home and displacement with WCSU and Danbury students as part of The Home Project, an art residency and collaborative art installation sponsored through a $13,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. As part of his residency, Hafez joined WCSU faculty members Associate Professor of Art and Kathwari Honors Program Director Sabrina Marques and Dr. Christine Hegel-Cantarella, associate professor of Anthropology and associate chair of the Social Sciences Department, in mentoring students in the fall semester course “There’s No Place Like Home.”
Hafez has served as interpreter-in-residence at the Oriental Institute and as artist-in-residence at the Harris School of Public Policy, both at the University of Chicago. He maintains a studio in New Haven and has been recognized as a Silliman College Fellow at Yale University and a 2018 recipient of the Arts Hero Award from the State of Connecticut Office of the Arts. Hafez was featured in “A Broken House,” directed by Jimmy Goldblum and featured by New Yorker Documentary (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-documentary/a-syrian-artist-remakes-the-home-he-cannot-visit).