“Upon my arrival as an immigrant, my perceptions played games alongside the, at times hot branded perceptions of others upon me.” - Mazen Abufadil
Mazen Abufadil is our first individual to feature, and this submission is really special because it includes a visual art element. Mazen is an artist who is originally from Lebanon and now resides in Oklahoma in the United States. He left his home country in 1978 due to the instability and lack of safety that civil war brought to Lebanon. Currently, Mazen is an inspiring photography teacher who has a daily impact on so many students and teachers. His dedication and work is an honor for us to highlight.
Mazen’s art is on display at the Gilcrease Museum located in the Americans All exhibit. He has graciously shared one of the pieces with us, called “Pariah or Potato”, which he explained symbolizes a longing for peace. We are thrilled that Mazen is the first to submit his story because this is such a unique way of representing immigration and a hope for peace. Below is Mazen’s description of “Pariah or Potato” as well as a photo of the piece.
Here is what Mazen has to say about his inspiration for the image and his experience arriving in the U.S. as an immigrant:
“Pariah or Potato was inspired by the beautiful book the Arrival, by Shaun Tan. His illustrations depict a bewildered traveler, in search of safety and stability for his family, attempting to decipher a mystifying new world. The characters are strange to him, and he is strange to them. Some are willing and others are not quite so.
Upon my Arrival as an immigrant, my perceptions played games alongside the, at times hot branded perceptions of others upon me. This photo-fresco depicts perhaps a monster or a strange breed of sea animal. Is it a Pariah (an undesirable), or perchance...is it simply a sweet potato? The image is about the viewer. We, as viewers, must decide just how to view; and, whether or not we are willing. We must decide just what to see and how to engage.”
*We want to thank Mazen for sharing his artwork with us, and for being Prose for Peace’s first individual to feature. Also, we encourage you to visit more of Mazen’s work at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.