Unpacked: Refugee Baggage

  • February 5, 2020 to March 15, 2020
    Recurring daily
  • Lynn Mecklenburg Textile Gallery
  • Downtown
  • 1300 Linden Drive
  • Madison, WI 53706
  • Phone: (608) 262-3623

This multimedia exhibit features the sculptures of Mohamad Hafez, a Syrian-born, Connecticut-based artist and architect who re-creates war-torn domestic interiors within suitcases. Each piece is based on interviews with refugees who were forced to leave their homes in countries ranging from Syria and Afghanistan, to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and who now reside in the United States. As visitors view Hafez’s sculptures, they can both hear and read these recorded interviews, which were collected by Iraqi-born Wesleyan University student, writer, and speaker, Ahmed Badr. Included in the series are Hafez and Badr’s own stories, which detail Hafez’s inability to return to Syria, and the bomb that entered Badr’s family home.

Pieces from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection will be placed in dialogue with UNPACKED, which provides a unique opportunity to reinterpret the School of Human Ecology holdings. In this accompanying display, textiles represent three distinct categories: items that are thematically related to Hafez and Badr’s work, making traditions endangered by war, and objects made by refugees. A significant portion of this material will be exhibited for the first time, including metallic Syrian “aghabbani” silks, a monumental woven and embroidered Southern Iraqi rug with vibrant colors and motifs, and exceptional Cambodian ikat raw silk wrapped garments. Of particular note are Hmong Story Cloths, which depict individuals escaping war and that create important connections to Wisconsin’s diverse Hmong communities.

  • Times: Wed – Fri, 10am – 4pm; Sat – Sun, Noon – 4pm