Artist Profile: Mohamad

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Mohamad has been an artist for as long as he can remember.

Growing up in the Middle East, he would ask his father to buy him simple art materials: a few pencils and some art paper. But what Mohamad created with just these basic materials impressed his family. His uncle would name different animals, and he would excitedly sketch out their eyes, paws, tails, and fur until it all came together into a realistic work of art.

The first time Mohamad felt like a real artist was in geography class in 5th grade. The teacher gave the students a homework assignment, asking them to select a photo of a vegetable from the textbook and sketch it. The next day, when Mohamad turned his sketch in, the teacher held it up, displayed it to the class, and announced to all of young Mohamad’s classmates, “this is how you should draw.”

After this, all of Mohamad’s friends asked him to draw objects and scenes for them. When he was in 8th grade, he asked a relative who had a Fine Arts degree to help him learn oil painting. The first thing Mohamad painted was a landscape, and his friend hung it on the wall.

Mohamad broadened his art horizons, using oil paints, watercolor, charcoal, and more. Upon realizing his exceptional talent, he applied to an Arts college and found out that out of all the applicants in the country, he was ranked third despite his comparative youth.

As it does with many people’s dreams, life got in the way. Mohamad came from a family struggling to make ends meet. He was partway through college when he had to leave his studies to support his family. But he eventually managed to return and finish his degree.

While in Dubai, where he lived for 12 years, he used his art background to start an interior and exterior design company. Although he was happy he could be creative, Mohamad missed painting landscapes, flowers, and cars: the type of art he truly loved.

When Mohamad immigrated to the United States, he met NY JFON’s Managing Attorney TJ Mills and told him about his art.

“TJ is a very, very, very good person,” said Mohamad. “I never met someone like TJ. When he speaks, he speaks the truth.”

Over the course of several months, TJ helped Mohamad apply for a green card so he could remain safely in the United States. Now, Mohamad lives in Buffalo and says he likes being in the United States. Here, he feels accepted, and he’s grateful and proud that he can work and live with documentation.

In his free time, Mohamad loves to paint. He often paints old, rusted cars sitting peacefully in a patch of grass. These scenes evoke memories of his hometown. As he paints the strips of rusted metal, Mohamad feels as if he is touching the real rust beneath his fingers. Momentarily, he is transported home, to his youth, to his family, where life was more simple, and the only thing on his mind was what he would draw next.

See Mohamad’s art.

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