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Mohamad Hafez continues his artistic mission in latest venture, Pistachio Cafe

Through his art, Mohamad Hafez confronts preconceived notions of refugees and the "baggage" they may carry. He was recently the subject of an Oscars-shortlisted documentary, an intimate portrait of how Hafez's acclaimedUNPACKEDseries was informed by his own experience leaving Syria.

This hour, we visit Hafez at his studio, just above the location of his latest venture, Pistachio Cafe. Hear about why he opened this coffee shop and "cultural salon" in the heart of New Haven’s Westville neighborhood. Plus, hear how he has adapted his artwork into workshops with Connecticut schools; and preview an upcoming partnership with the Yale Peabody Museum.

"How do you tell these stories artistically? How do you tell that my family or the Syrian family or Iraqi family is worthy of attention?"

Hafez says he is "energized to make artwork that brings people together, that teaches them ever-so-gently about that other that they fear, about that other refugee that they think is uncivilized. There's nothing better than sharing humanity, sharing stories, sharing anecdotes about our lives. Because, you know, that's the human connection amongst all of us."


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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.