Across Histories: Wafaa Bilal

Arte East and EFA Project Space Present Across Histories:Wafaa Bilal Artist talk Moderated by David Gargill

Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal’s creative practice explores the body as a medium for connecting the comfort zone in the US to the conflict zone in Iraq, and the notion of aesthetic pleasure vs. aesthetic pain. Bilal will talk about his latest installation, Domestic Tension, which placed him on the receiving end of a paintball gun that was accessible online to a worldwide audience, 24 hours a day for 31 days. Bilal will address the use of the Internet as an artistic platform as well as the censorship his show Virtual Jihadi faced in New York by Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute and the city of Troy.

Wafaa Bilal is an assistant professor of art at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has exhibited his art world-wide. Bilal’s latest installation, Domestic Tension, spurred on-line debates and conversations, garnering the praise of the Chicago Tribune, which called it “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time,” and named him Artist of the Year in 2008. Newsweek’s assessment was “breathtaking.” In the face of a war that stretches on, the 2004 deaths of his brother and father, the violence in his own history, Bilal seeks to imbue his audiences with a sense of empowerment that comes from hope in the enduring potential of humanity. In fall 2008 City Lights published “Shoot an Iraqi: Life, Art and Resistance Under the Gun,” about Bilal’s life and the Domestic Tension project.

David Gargill’s work has been appeared in Harper’s, GQ, and several other publications. This past summer he traveled to Chicago to profile Wafaa Bilal for “The National”, an English-language daily recently launched
in Abu Dhabi.

Across Histories: a series of talks with artists, writers, and curators presented by Arte East in Collaboraton with EFA Project Space