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January 25-29

Wafaa Bilal at the 4th India Art Fair, 25-29 January 2012, New Delhi

Wafaa Bilal's Midwest Olympia (2005) will be showcased at the India Art Fair's Video Lounge as part of a carefully selected programme of avant-garde video art by established and emerging artists from India and abroad.

Date: Saturday 28 January | Time: 7pm
Venue: India Art Fair, Video Lounge, NSIC Exhibition Grounds, Okhla Industrial Estate

IndieGoGo Campaign

Please donate to Wafaa's IndieGoGo campaign to exhibit Domestic Tension in the Jakarta Bienial XIV. For more information or to give a donation, click here http://www.indiegogo.com/Wafaa-Bilal-1

Sunday, November 20th, 3pm

Above: The performers of A Call, Video still by Amir Mousavi and Sohrab Kashani, courtesy of Wafaa Bilal. Below: A scene from OverRuled, photograph by Larry Barns, courtesy of the Shirin Neshat and Gladstone Gallery, New York.

The Back Room with Wafaa Bilal & Shirin Neshat

A conversation about the making of A Call and OverRuled, moderated by Nicholas Mirzoeff

Co-curated by Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman. Organized in collaboration with Aaran Gallery, Tehran; Sazmanab Project, Tehran; White Box, New York.

In conjunction with Performa, Wafaa Bilal and Shirin Neshat will discuss their most recent works—A Call and OverRuled. These two performances engage and question the act of bearing witness. Their audiences, too, are left culpable, participants in show trials and ephemeral memorials. Bilal and Neshat’s discussion will be moderated by Nicholas Mirzoeff, author of The Right to Look: A Counter History of Visuality (2011) and professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. The event will be hosted by White Box, NYC, and Sazmanab Project, Tehran, and broadcast live online at www.whiteboxny.com, via Ustream.

About A Call
With eighty Iranian performers, an empty swimming pool, and five cameras, Wafaa Bilal developed A Call as a memorial to the dead, the living, and the forgotten of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). As the Iranian government denied Bilal an artist’s visa, he attended the September 23rd 2011 premiere at Aaran Gallery in Tehran remotely, from a parallel opening at White Box in New York City. A video of the Tehran installation and its visitors streamed live on White Box’s walls. The mediated performance enacted the dislocations, delays, and ruptures that war breeds. View the performance online at http://tinyurl.com/67xzh8f

The performance was made in collaboration with curators of The Back Room, Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman; curator and director of Aaran Gallery, Nazila Noebashari; photographers Aliyar Rasti and Sasan Abri; cinematographer Amir Mousavi; technical director Sohrab Kashani; performance director Hamid Pourazari; choreographer Sara Reyhani; and lighting designer Rodin Hamidi; and many other performers and contributors.

About OverRuled
OverRuled premiered at this year’s Performa Biennial, on Friday, November 11, 2011. It begins with an address by a judge in an Iranian court: "You are called here today to witness...." The audience is flanked by soldiers and facing a stage overflowing with legal archives and dutiful clerks. When four individuals called under one name, Siavash, take the stand accused of heresy, "the audience, imagination, and life, are on trial. The theocratic law seeks vengeance, while engulfed in absurdity of its own making, relying on the ensemble of military men who are vessels of its might."

The performance was made in collaboration with writers Shoja Azari and Behrang Azari, musician and vocalist Mohsen Namjoo; actor Mohammed B. Ghaffari; actor and satirist Kambiz Hosseini; singer Shadi Yousefian; actor Lanna Joffery; set designer and artist Shahram Karimi; and many other performers and contributors.

Opening: Friday September 23, 11:30am to 1:30pm, NYC | 8pm to 10pm, Tehran

A Call, Wafaa Bilal Photograph by Aliyar Rasti and Sasan Abri

The Back Room presents a concurrent opening and dialogue between Tehran and NYC. This spring, Wafaa Bilal was invited to participate in "Requiem for Innocence," at Aaran Gallery, Tehran. With over eighty Iranian performers, an empty swimming pool, and five cameras, he developed “A Call” as a memorial to the dead, the living, and the forgotten of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988).

As the Iranian government denied Bilal an artist’s visa, he will be attending the exhibition remotely, from a parallel opening at White Box in New York City. A video of Aaran Gallery, the installation, and its visitors will stream live on White Box’s walls. The mediated performance will enact the dislocations, delays, and ruptures that war breeds.

Co-curated by Ava Ansari and Molly Kleiman of The Back Room, in collaboration with MA.P.S White Box, NYC, and Aaran Gallery, Tehran.

White Box
329 Broome Street

Aaran Gallery
9 Dey Street, North Kheradmand Avenue

Contact: mollykleiman [at] gmail [dot] com and avaansari [at] gmail [dot] com


wafaa bilal brad farwell 3rdi
Photo by: Brad Farwell http://www.bradfarwell.com

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16 April

Wafaa Bilal will give an artist talk at The Influencers.

"The Influencers is somewhat of a nearly impossible challenge to bring unconventional art forms together with incursions into a wider political realm, fed by the on-going mutations of popular culture of our digital age. During three intense days, art world outsiders, political tricksters and technological outlaws propose sophisticated DIY tactics that heartlessly disrupt the normality of power and propaganda, reconciling us with the pleasure of surprise and hazard. Pranksters and visionaries turn imagination into actions and actions in turn become ideas again in the hand of bona fide myth-makers and grassroots storytellers. In the continuous fight over the freedom of collective dreams, "the only principle that does not inhibit progress is: anything goes". It’s a promise!" http://theinfluencers.org/en

CCCB Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (Spain)

15 December


wafaa bilal brad farwell 3rdi
Photo by: Brad Farwell http://www.bradfarwell.com

September 7th

Launch of MyI

Performing Histories: Wafaa Bilal in Conversation With Sara Raza


Wednesday, April 27 6:30 pm

An Urgent Exchange:
U.S. Empire
Islamic Fundamentalism
Both Deadly.
Is There Another Way?

A diverse group of artists, scholars, and political thinkers including Wafaa Bilal, Laura Lee Schmidt and Sunsara Taylor, will engage the question:
"If you are troubled about the state and direction of the world…if you are repelled by both the arrogant assertion of empire by the government and leaders of the U.S. and the fanatical backwardness of Islamic fundamentalism, what should you be doing?"

Uprisings in the Middle East have given renewed hope to many.  But the U. S. continues to rain down death on the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and occupy Iraq, seeking, with its European allies, to dominate Libya through military intervention.  Islamic fundamentalism, presenting itself as an "alternative" to Western domination, puts a brake on the radical aspirations of people, especially women.

Come and be part of the conversation about alternatives to these two unacceptable options – in a world crying out for fundamental change.

Click to download flier. Invite your friends via Facebook.

7 October

Wafaa Bilal will be part of the Performing Idea international symposium. The five day symposium brings together key thinkers and artists in experimental forms of public exchange. Each of the five days is dedicated to a specific thematic: Other Durations, Living Archives, Reciprocal Aesthetics, Performative Writing and Dialogues. The symposium will take place at Toynbee Studios, London UK, form 5th-9th October 2010.

7th October
Reciprocal Aesthetics
Toynbee Studios
With: Ron Athey, Wafaa Bilal, Maaike Bleeker, Shannon Jackson and Julie Tolentino

The participation of the spectator in making the meaning of the work of art has been a staple of art and performance practices long before the recent charged debates on ‘relational aesthetics.’ Yet art, however solitary, is arguably always a kind of collaboration and involves itself in some form of exchange. What can be at stake in this exchange? Speakers will examine the notion and limits of the idea that contemporary art and performance is a reciprocal affair. They will ask what gets transacted in contemporary art? What is given and what is taken, what is shared and what cannot be shared?


Wafaa Bilal was awarded The Makers Muse Award by the Kindle Project.

7pm, Thurs. July 29, 2010

Wafaa Bilal will appear on a panels at the powerHouse Arena for a panel discussion.

Please join us on July 29 at powerHouse Arena for a new Full Spectrum panel discussion, especially relevant in these days of migration and upheaval: THE EXILES.  This free forum with four top creators will explore what they do, why they do it, and the unique experience of making one’s way when far from home.  Be there!  The conversation will be provocative, timely and hip...

Announcement: Front, Back

PowerHouse Arena
37 Main St 
[corner of Main & Water, in DUMBO] 
Brooklyn, NY 11201
F to York; A/C to High; 2/3 to Clark 

8pm March 8th to 8pm March 9th, 2010

…and Counting:

wafaa bilal and counting

Tattoo is latest medium for acclaimed Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal in New York live performance

wafaa bilal donate and counting

Where: Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts
Blackburn 20/20
323 W39th Street 5th Floor NY, NY 10018
Contact: Phillip Sanders, phil@efa1.org, 212-563-5855
Artist contact: w.wafaa@gmail.com
Project Director: Christine OHeron: christineoheron@gmail.com, (860) 782-1030

Wafaa Bilal's brother Haji was killed by a missile at a checkpoint in their hometown of Kufa, Iraq in 2004. Bilal feels the pain of both American and Iraqi families who’ve lost loved ones in the war, but the deaths of Iraqis like his brother are largely invisible to the American public.

…and Counting addresses this double standard as Bilal turns his own body – in a 24-hour live performance -- into a canvas, his back tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq covered with one dot for each Iraqi and American casualty near the cities where they fell. The 5,000 dead American soldiers are represented by red dots (permanent visible ink), and the 100,000 Iraqi casualties are represented by dots of green UV ink, seemingly invisible unless under black light. During the performance people from all walks of life read off the names of the dead.

Also, Bilal is asking each visitor to donate $1 which will go to the group Rally for Iraq, to fund scholarships for Americans and Iraqis who lost parents in the war. Based on official numbers of casualties, one dollar for each would mean $105,000 in scholarship money.

Full Press Release Here

January 21 - April 4, 2010

Wafaa Bilal: Agent Intellect

Wafaa Bilal

The Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont will feature a major solo show by Wafaa Bilal – “Agent Intellect” -- opening January 21, 2010 through April 4. The exhibition features Domestic Tension Redux, a recreation of Bilal’s award winning 2007 performance piece, and Virtual Jihadi, which stirred controversy last year after it was censored by the city of Troy, NY and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Helen Day Art Center will also feature Ashes, a series of five large format photographs based on models Bilal constructed of scenes from the Iraq war. One of the models, Samarra, will also be exhibited. Additionally the show includes a site-specific installation titled Mighaisil (Morgue), a contemplative space created to consider death, violence and place. This is the first time these works have ever been displayed together providing a comprehensive understanding of Bilal’s career since 2007.

Thurs. Jan. 21, 6-8pm: Art Opening
Fri. Jan. 22, 6pm: Screening of The Night of Bush Capturing: A Virtual Jihadi followed by discussion on free speech with artist Wafaa Bilal
Exhibit runs through April 4

Helen Day Art Center, 5 School Street, Stowe, Vermont

Full press release here.


Booklist Award
"Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun" has made Booklist's top 10 Arts Books list and will be featured in the November 1 issue.

October 21, 2009 - January 16, 2010

The Virtual Jihad will open in Beirut Lebanon
The Night of Bush Capturing: A Virtual Jihad will open at Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon as part of show called AMERICA.

wafaa bilal america

September 16, 2009

Wafaa Bilal presents his new Video installation AMERICAN at East Carolina University, Mendenhall Gallery.

Closing Reception
September 16, 2009

Participating Artists: Bilal, Brines, Fincannon, Forbes, Jacono, Hogan Co-creator by Bilal, Adam Jacono and Annie Hogan.

wafaa bilal american side 1

wafaa bilal american side 2

6 June 2009, 7pm

Wafaa Bilal will appear on C-Span2 to talk about his book. link here

wafaa bilal cspan

30 April and 2 May 2009

Wafaa Bilal will appear on two panels in PEN World Voices Festival.

wafaa bilal

14 February 2009 – 2 May 2009

Wafaa Bilal new Ashes Series will open in Israeli as part of Forbidden Junctions show.

The Ashes Series, will depict miniature model reconstructions of media photographs documenting destroyed domestic interiors resulting from the war in Iraq. Twenty-one grams of human ashes mixed with other organic ashes will be spread over the model landscapes, rendering every object equal in importance. The origins of my photographs may appear to be ambiguous at first, but upon closer observation, the media referents will become clear to anyone familiar with such images. The models will function as transitional spaces, echoing the original media images while also becoming ephemeral.

wafaa bilal ashes series wafaa bilal ashes series wafaa bilal ashes series

Forbidden Junctions
A group exhibition at the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon
Opening: Saturday, 14 February 2009, 8 p.m.

The exhibition "Forbidden Junctions" introduces a multi-directional thought process pointing at fluid, stratified cultural realities which challenge deep-seated identity labels anchored in collective cultural memory. The show features artists from several "Middle Easteran" countries (Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran) whose works address issues pertinent to the political, cultural, and dynamic reality in which they live. All the featured works, some created especially for the exhibition, present intercultural junctions where various groups adopt certain symbols, while relinquishing others. The term "forbidden junctions" (or prohibited hybrids,… for more detail please visit http://www.digitalartlab.org.il/Index.asp

GamePolitics named Wafaa Bilal one of the most politically fascinating people of the year 2008, Also one of the top 15 story of the same year.