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Unpacked: Refugee Baggage

Rodney Nelson
Courtesy of the Exhibit Team
A scene from the exhibit "Unpacked: Refugee Baggage"

As we are experiencing the largest refugee crisis in human history, millions of people are being forced to flee their homes. It can be hard to remember that each refugee is a human being with an individual story to tell. 

Mohamad Hafez, a Syrian born architect, is finding unique ways to share those stories through an exhibit called "Unpacked: Refugee Baggage," which is on display at Iowa State University today through October 19.

Hafez is an architect who could not go home during his time at Iowa State due to travel restrictions that did not allow him to return to Syria.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Hafez talks with host Charity Nebbe about the exhibit, which recreates scenes from the lives of refugees.

"Architects throw away a lot of materials when they are modeling," he says. "So, I collected those materials and started making minatures. I remember vividly sitting in a corner desk at the Armory. I started at 6:00 p.m., and I remember looking up and realizing it was 3:00 a.m. in the morning." 

"It was therapy through art," he continues. "It was creative expression. 

His co-creator of the exhibit, Ahmed Badr, is a former refugee from Iraq who has recorded interviews with each of the subjects featured in the exhibit. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa