Damascus To New Haven, Bite By Bite

by Lucy Gellman | Nov 13, 2015 12:41 pm

Lucy Gellman PhotoThe last time artist Mohamad Hafez was in Damascus, waiting on a visa application that ultimately took a month and a half, it was 2011. The city was still standing strong, and he had a kind of trick. When time stopped each afternoon — the result of a long, large midday meal that ended in a city-wide siesta — he would walk the old city, taking in its Roman arches and the Great Mosque of the Umayyads, listening to birdsong and breath fuse with the daily call to prayer, and sitting in coffee shops with his new iPhone flat on the table, recording conversations quirky and banal alike. Born in Syria, raised in Saudi Arabia, and educated largely in the United States, the self-described “Midwesterner” cherished these snippets of speech, conversations between neighbors, friends and family in a language for which he had been deeply homesick.

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