Decaying, festering ruins of thousands of architecture bombed out of existence, Mohammad Hafez empties the sorrow he feels for his homeland Syria in 3-D painting. Syria is never the same as Hafez left it. It was a hard year for Hafez, who was nineteen and had just left his native Syria. He missed his parents and his life back in Damascus. As a teen-ager, Hafez would wander the streets of Damascus’s Old City—sketchbook in hand—drawing its ancient arches, porticoes, and doorways with their Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, and Islamic influences. When he finished high school, his parents wanted him to attend college in the United States, and so there he was in Ames, Iowa, homesick and surrounded by cornfields.
Most artists feel their work as a kind of therapeutic escape from the grief that surrounds them. For Hafez, he realised the process ‘making and detailing these models was very therapeutic’. Hafez could not go back to Syria since he arrived in 2004, and captured the ordeals the Syrian war has cost him. His 3-Painting reflects the ruins of Syria: the buildings hemorrhage electrical wires, crumbling shafts of concrete, and rusted shards of metal rebar. The details are stunningly real—an old chandelier flickers with light, miniature trousers hang on a frayed clothesline, a tiny bird’s nest is burrowed in a charred cornice. The tiny scenes makes you squint and take a step closer, until your nose is practically touching the world that Hafez has created.
Hafez’s family is currently scattered across the globe. His parents fled to Dubai; his sister and brother-in-law escaped to Sweden and this displacement is a major theme Hafez narrates in his work of Syrian war havoc.