Bio : Iraqi born artist Wafaa Bilal has exhibited his art world wide, and traveled and lectured extensively to inform audiences of the situation of the Iraqi people, and the importance of peaceful conflict resolution. Bilal has exhibited worldwide including in Baghdad, the Netherlands, Thailand and Croatia; as well as at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Milwaukee Art Museum and various other US galleries. His residencies have included Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California; Catwalk in New York; and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Favorite Quotes :
"Where is PETA for Iraqis?"
**"Even by refusing to do political art, that is a political act."**
" If I believe in it why shouldn't I speak out... you lend a hand for other to speak out."
"The worst thing that could ever happen to an artist is to relieve no response."
"The modern man has become the Trojan Horse. No place is safe."
**This quote is my ultimate favorite because it made me think of my own work in a political sense. Though I never intended for my work to be political, as I look back on them and my thought process many of them have political elements I didn't expect.
3 Words : Iraq Political Awareness
The most important thing I learned from this lecture was the impact of the body on artwork. The thing that impressed me more than anything was his willingness to use his own body as a guinea pig in his artwork for his overall message. After hearing him speak about his work, I understood why using his pain and body to influence his audiences view of the work was such a significant part of his projects. As a member of the audience, I cringed during many of his performances and I realized that that was the reaction he was looking and hoping for.
Original Question :
Why do you choose to make your body the canvas for your work (referring to the ...and Counting project)?
Similar to what I wrote above. To get the audience to react to his pain and try to understand why he would cause himself physical pain for art. He is trying to get people to read past the surface level of his work and look for something deeper, something political.
Have you ever focused on one set of medium or media, since most of your work seems to be about documenting performances through video or photographing?
He explained that video was the majority of the time the most effective way of documenting his performances. Videos allow the audience to experience the actions with you instead of just viewing them from a distance.
The project that I enjoyed most was ...and Counting.
Learning about why he chose to use invisible ink to represent the Iraqi and American people who have died in Iraq(which confused me before his lecture), I appreciate the project and presentation more. The hidden death and the visible names of the major Iraq cities makes the impact of the death stronger when they are visible.
New Questions :
When and where will your next performance piece be held?