Wafaa Bilal Rakes Over the Ashes, Literally
Image rights: Photo credit: Bryan Derballa
Collection of the artist
In his technology-driven public performances, installations, actions, and object-based works, Wafaa Bilal aims to re-engage a de-sensitized public with the violent political conflicts occurring worldwide, and especially in his native Iraq. “Through my art, I hope to raise a collective social consciousness, one that transcends purely religious and nationalistic dogmas and opens up a discursive dialogue,” he once explained. His approach is shaped by his own experience of fleeing Iraq in 1991. Since taking refuge in America, he has been psychologically split between what he calls the “comfort zone” of his adopted home and the “conflict zone” of his native one. Bilal employs robotics, the internet, photographic mobile mapping, and, perhaps most controversially, his own body to make his unflinching works that ask the thorny but necessary question of whose lives are valued and why.
Iraqi-American, b. 1966