A Look Back at Unpacked: Refugee Baggage Exhibition and Programming

September 30, 2019 - November 1, 2019

Two young girls view the sculpture and installation work by Mohamad Hafez and Ahmed Badr in the exhibition.
Ahmed Badr stands on stage talking to attendees of the storytelling workshop in the Starkville Community Theatre.


Opening on September 30 to a large crowd, Unpacked: Refugee Baggage exhibition and programs hosted over 700 visitors from the MSU campus community, city of Starkville, and the surrounding region. Along with the display of artwork by Mohamad Hafez and Ahmed Badr, programming included a panel discussion on migrant, immigrant, and refugee identity, a talk by visiting artist Mohamad Hafez, a public exhibition reception, a storytelling workshop and a public talk on empowering youth through storytelling with Ahmed Badr.

Comments left by attendees express positive feedback:
"I am really glad I got to hear [Hafez's] amazing discussion about Middle East issues and Refugee experiences. The most enjoyable part of his talk was the way in which he educated us about his culture by talking about his family history, his own experience as a Syrian artist living in America, his adversities, and his inspiration for his sculptures."

"I didn't realize how hard life can be for an immigrant and the talk was quite inspiring and eye-opening. I learned from Hafez the hardships that immigrants and refugees go through just to be safe, such as when he explained that his brother in law and nieces and nephews left Syria in a raft seeking a refugee camp in Sweden. Hafez's talk helped me understand his art in a new light."

Unpacked: Refugee Baggage closed on November 1 and travels back to the northeast for futhur exhibition opportunities.

This project is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the Starkville Area Arts Council, and The Criss Trust.

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