Wafaa Bilal

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Domestic Tension , 2007 © Wafaa Bilal
Domestic Tension, 2007 © Wafaa Bilal
detail from Domestic Tension , 2007 © Wafaa Bilal
The Human Condition Series: Sipapu , 2000 Archival Digital C Print 40 X 50 In © Wafaa Bilal
3rdi Photograph © Wafaa Bilal
The Ashes Series: Chair , 2003-2013 Archival Inkjet Photograph 40 X 50 In © Wafaa Bilal
The Ashes Series: Piano, 2003-2013 Archival Inkjet Photograph © Wafaa Bilal
Technoviking , 2013 Site Specific Installation © Wafaa Bilal
The Ashes Series: Chandelier, 2003-2013 Archival Inkjet Photograph © Wafaa Bilal
Hierarchy of Being © Wafaa Bilal
The Human Condition Series: Sipapu , 2000 Archival Digital C Print 40 X 50 In © Wafaa Bilal
Hierarchy of Being © Wafaa Bilal
© Wafaa Bilal
Virtual Jihadi Face © Wafaa Bilal
© Courtesy of the artist and Doris McCarthy Gallery
Ashes Series, 2009 Archival Inkjet Print © Wafaa Bilal
THE ASHES SERIES: DARK PALACE, 2003-2013 Archival Inkjet Photograph 40 X 50 Inches © Courtesy of the artist & Driscoll Babcock
The Ashes Series: Market, 2003-13 Archival Inkjet Photograph 102.0 X 127.0 Cm. © Courtesy of the Artist and Art Gallery of Windsor
168:01, 2015 Drawing, From Animation By Judith Shimer © Courtesy of the artist
Quick Facts
Lives in
New York, NY
Works in
New York, NY

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal, an Assistant Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, is known internationally for his online performative and interactive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internal dynamics. For the 3rdi (2010–2011), Bilal had a camera surgically implanted on the back of his head to spontaneously transmit images to the web 24 hours a day––a statement on surveillance, the mundane, and the things we leave behind. Bilal’s 2010 work, … And Counting, similarly used his own body as a medium. His back was tattooed with a map of Iraq and dots representing Iraqi and US casualties––the Iraqis in invisible ink seen only under a black light. Bilal’s 2007 installation, Domestic Tension, also addressed the Iraq war. Bilal spent a month in a Chicago gallery with a paintball gun that people could shoot at him over the internet. The Chicago Tribune called it “one of the sharpest works of political art to be seen in a long time” and named him 2008 Artist of the Year. Bilal’s work is constantly informed by the experience of fleeing his homeland and existing simultaneously in two worlds––his home in the “comfort zone” of the U.S. and his consciousness of the “conflict zone” in Iraq. Bilal suffered repression under Saddam Hussein’s regime and fled Iraq in 1991 during the first Gulf War. After two years in refugee camps in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, he came to the U.S., where he graduated from the University of New Mexico and then obtained an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008, City Lights published Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun about Bilal’s life and the Domestic Tension project.




2003 MFA, Art and Technology, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
1999 BFA, Summa Cum Laude, University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
1985-90 BA (equivalent) Geography and Geology, University of Baghdad Baghdad, Iraq


2008-12 Present Assistant Arts Professor, Photography, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
2004-08 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Photography, Art and Technology, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
2003-05 Instructor, Photography, Advanced Video, Harold Washington College, Chicago, IL


2012 New York Foundation of the Arts (NYFA)
2011-12 Artist-in-Residence, Lower Manhattan Culture Center, LMCC, New York
2011 Freedom to Create Commended Artist Award
2010 The Kindal Achievement Award
2008 Editor’s Choice Best Book of 2008, Booklist Magazine 2008


2012- 14 The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts New York, NY
2011-12 Lower Manhattan Culture Center, LMCC New York, NY
2008 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
2007 Montalvo Arts Center Saratoga, CA
2007 Catwalk Residency Catskill, NY


2015 Art Gallery of Windsor (forthcoming) Windsor, Canada
2013 David Winton Bell Gallery, List Art Center, Brown University (forthcoming) Providence, RI
2012 Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art (forthcoming) Ljubljana, Slovenia
2012 The Comfort Zone, Lake Forest College Lake Forest, IL
2010 ...and Counting, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts New York, NY
2010 Agent Intellect, Helen Day Art Center (catalogue) Stowe, VT
2008 Virtual Jihadi, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
2008 Virtual l Jihadi, conference of the Birds gallery Bangkok Thailand
2008 Dog or Iraqi Troy, NY
2007 Al dar Al-Iraqi, The Iraqi House, Montalvo Arts Center Saratoga, CA
2007 Milwaukee Art Museum, Impressionist Gallery Milwaukee, WI
2007 Domestic Tension, shoot an Iraqi, FlatFile Galleries Chicago, IL
2006 Interior Landscapes, Pawn Gallery Dallas, TX
2006 Casting bread, Dean Jensen Gallery Milwaukee, WI
2005 The Human Condition, FlatFile Galleries Chicago, IL
2004 Perseverance Implied, Arts Media & Engineering, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ
1999 Raze #213, ASA Gallery Albuquerque, NM
1999 Sorrow of Baghdad, The Harwood Art Center Albuquerque, NM
1998 Poliversial, an honors thesis exhibition, John Sommers Gallery U. of New Mexico
1988 First Solo exhibition, University of Baghdad Baghdad, Iraq


2012 Abandon Normal Devices, “Technoviking” Manchester, UK
2012 Out of Rubble, Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery Bowling Green, OH
2012 Out of the Rubble, Spaces Pittsburgh, PA
2012 Subversion of Comedies, Cornerhouse Manchester, UK
2012 Voyeur, Truman State University Gallery Kirksville, Missouri
2011 The Jakarta Biennale #14, Survive or Escape Jakarta, Indonesia
2011 What Matters Now: Proposals for a New Front Page, Aperture Foundation New York, NY
2011 Christie's Dubai Auction to Benefit Echo for Contemporary Iraqi Art (catalogue) Dubai, UAE
2011 Requiem for Innocence, Aaran Art Gallery Tehran, Iran
2011 A Call, White Box New York, NY
2011 Blown Up: Gaming and War, InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Center Toronto, Canada
2011 Aspect Volume 14 Middle East, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts San Francisco, CA
2011 Regard Resist React, Visual Arts Gallery U.Parkway, IL
2011 Serious Games, Mathildenhohe Darmstadt Darmstadt, DE
2010 Told, Untold, Retold, Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha, Qatar
2010 TIME AFTER TIME: ACTIONS AND INTERACTIONS, Southern Exposure CA, San Francisco
2010 The Interrupted Image, Nicholas Robinson Gallery New York, NY
2010 Virtual Jihadi, Beirut Art Center Beirut, Lebanon
2009 Magasin: Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble Grenoble, France
2009 Techno Culture Syracuse, NY
2009 A Bar at the Folies Bergère, Case for wine: From King Tut to today, The Art Institute of Chicago IL
2009 Virtual Jihadi, Kleefeld Gallery Hamburg, Germany
2009 Domestic Tension, The Reel festival Scotland
2009 Virtual Jihadi, Welcome to the Terrordome, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art W. Toronto, Canada
2009 The Ashes series, Forbidden Junctions, Israeli Art Center for Visual Art (catalogue) Holon, Israel
2008 Site Unseen, Chicago Cultural Center Chicago, IL
2008 One Chair, Experiencing the War in Iraq, Pawtucket Armory, Providence RI
2007 Al Qaeda R Us, Green Zone Red Zone, Gemeente museum Den Haag Netherlands
2007 Consuming War, Hyde Park Art Center Chicago, IL
2007 One Chair, To Fear or Not to Fear, The Art Center of Highland Park Highland Park, IL
2007 Art Chicago, Merchandise Mart with Dean Jensen Gallery Chicago, IL
2006 Imagine Hope, Tippecanoe Arts Federation Lafayette, IN
2006 ACTIVE LIBERTY, School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL 2006
2006 DETAINED, Asian American Arts Centre New York, NY
2005 Footcandles, ISU, The University Art Gallery Bloomington, IN
2005 The Institute Show, Albany Institute of History and Art Albany, NY
2005 Cyclics Art Show, Cyclics Corporation Schenectady, NY
2005 Midwest Olympia, Painting on Photography: Photography on Painting, Chicago, IL The Museum of Contemporary Photography
2004 Al Qaeda R Us, G2 Immersion, Point Lipa Gallery Chicago, IL
2004 Intimachine, Art Interactive Gallery Cambridge, MA
2004 The Dolan Center Art Gallery, Friends Academy Locust Valley, NY
2004 Mona Lisa, The Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL
2002 Al Qaeda R Us, G2 Chicago, IL
2001 Security System, site specific performance and installation Chicago, IL
2001 Work in Progress, National Student Printmaking Exhibition, Arizona State U. Tempe, AZ
2001 Shhh! Plan B Santa Fe, NM
2001 Shhh! Site 21/21 Albuquerque, NM
1998 Invitational No. 1, ASA Gallery Albuquerque, NM
1997 Enduring Look, 1926 Exhibition Studies Space Chicago, IL


2013 Tate Modern (forthcoming) London, UK
2013 The University of North Texas (forthcoming) Denton, Texas
2013 Brown University (forthcoming) Providence, RI
2013 University of Western Ontario (forthcoming) London, Canada
2012 University of Arizona School of Art Tucson, AZ
2012 NYU Skirball Center New York, NY
2012 Arizona State University Tempe, Arizona
2012 Harvard University, BYO Boston, MA
2012 ArtEZ Netherlands
2012 Carnegie Mellon School of Art Pittsburgh, PA
2011 Arizona State University (keynote speaker) Phoenix, AZ
2011 ISEA: Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts Istanbul, Turkey
2011 Museum of Art and Design New York, NY
2011 Global Art Forum, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha, Qatar
2010 Performing Idea International Symposium London UK
2010 International Experimental Media Congress Toronto, Canada
2010 UC Berkeley Art and Technology Colloquium Berkeley CA
2009 DIWAN FORUM Arab American Museum Detroit, MI
2009 Spark Festival, University of Minnesota, Keynote Speaker Minneapolis, MN
2008 ArteEast New York, NY
2008 Resolution 3, at Pitzer College, Keynote speaker. Los Angeles, CA
2007 Stanford University Palo Alto CA


2011 Returning Fire: Art and Activism in Militainent Culture, by Roger Stahl, University of Georgia
2010 Aspect: The Chronicle of New Media Art, Vol. 14: Middle East
2008 Art Does Not Equal Terrorism, Hudson Mohawk Indymedia
2003 Why They Do Not Kill Saddam, The History Channel


2011 Serious Games, Mathildenhohe Darmstadt
2011 Out of Rubble, by Susanne Slavick
2010 Bang Art: Italian
2010 Universal Colours, The Magazine for Professional Migrant Artists, (Cover)
2010 Wafaa Bilal: Agent Intellect, Helen Day Art Center
2009 New vision Arab contemporary art in the 21st century
2009 Resisting Despair, by Deborah Al-Najjar and Nadje Al-Ali, UC press
2009 Domestic Tension Dynamic Encounter, DIWAN Art Forum
2009 Militainment, Inc., by Roger Stahl, Routledge, Performance Research, Volume 13
2009 ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art, a bi-annual DVD publication
2009 Borders, Contemporary Middle Eastern Art and Discourse
2009 Critical Play: Radical Game Design by Mary Flanagan, MIT press.
2005 Confronting Manet: Artists Responding to Race, Gender, and Modernism in Manet, by Victoria Pass


2012 We are all Iraqis: Resisting Despair, edited by Deborah Al-Najjar and Nadje Al-Ali, UC press
2009 Resisting Despair, edited by Deborah Al-Najjar and Nadje Al-Ali, UC press Los Angeles, CA
2009 Dynamic Encounter and the Benjaminian Aura, CAA, College Art Association Los Angeles, CA
2008 Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life, and Resistance under the Gun, City lights Books USA
2007 Fall Index on Censorship, Dynamism and Internet Art London, UK
2007 A Look at Crudeoils. Lawson, S. Bilal, W. 2007. In Media in Transition 5 Cambridge, MA
2005 Fall Divide, Issue # 3 Art and Politics, University of Colorado at Boulder Boulder, CO


Autumn 2012 Harper’s Bazaar New York, NY
June, 2012 Mladina Ljubljana, Slovenia
June, 2012 Delo Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dec. 2011 Kompas Jakarta, Indonesia
Nov. 2011 Rhizome
Aug 10 2011 Village Voice New York, NY
April, 2011 Art Asia Pacific, Cover Story
March, 2011 The Wire Auckland
March, 2011 Popular Science
Dec. 3, 2010 The Wall Street Journal NY, NY
Nov. 16, 2010 The Wall Street Journal NY, NY
June 10, 2009 The Record, Front Page Story Troy, NY
June 10, 2008 The Guardian London, UK
Dec, 2008 Art in America USA
Dec 30, 2007 Chicago Tribune, Artist of the Year Chicago, IL
May, 29, 2007 The Washington Post Washington DC
May, 10, 2007 Chicago Tribune, (front page) Chicago, IL
Oct, 2006 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, (front page) Milwaukee, WI
Jan 14, 2005 The Boston Herald Boston, MA
Jan 13, 2005 The Boston Globe Boston, MA
Jan 4, 2005 ArtFuture Tempe, AZ


Sept. 14, 2012 Death throes of Internet meme puff up giant head,
Sept. 5, 2012 Artist Brings Back Internet Meme ‘Technoviking’ as Tweet-Powered Head,
Sept. 1, 2012 Meme Junkyard: Technoviking,
Sept. 1, 2012 In Pictures: Abandon Normal Devices,
Aug. 8, 2012 Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers,

June 16, 2012 Wafaa Bilal: iraski umetnik iz New York,
June 16, 2012 Dokler je slo za lov na Sadama, ni bilo nic narobe,
June 12, 2012 Wafaa Bilal: Dinamicno srecanje, Ljubljana
May 29, 2012 DEBATE,
May 25, 2012 Domestic Privacy Issues Meet Political Art,
May 14, 2012 Irreverent Humor,
May 8, 2012 LMCC Open Studios Reveal an Oasis of Artistic Activity,
Apr.l 17, 2012 Locating Media Talk Emphasizes Body, Arts, The Harvard Crimson,
April 15, 2012 The Most Bizarre Cameras on Earth (So Far) - Imaging Resource
Apr.l 10, 2012 Reflections on the Arab culture - The National,
Apr. 8 2012 KultúrPart - Látványpart - Így készíthetünk tökéletes fotókat
Mar. 28, 2012 Contemporary Lebanese films in Manchester, Ahram Online,
Feb. 8, 2012 Lake Forest College Hosts Iraqi-American Artist, GazeboNews,
Jan. 30, 2012 Artist uses body as medium, The Tartan, Carnegie Mellon University,
Jan. 26, 2012 Wafaa Bilal: A Migrant’s Life and A Roving Eye, WordStrike,
Jan. 25, 2012 'Out of Rubble' and 'Windows and Mirrors': Art exhibitions weigh U.S. role in two wars. Pittsburg
Jan. 21, 2012 Troy settles suit over crackdown on art exhibit,
Jan. 20, 2012 Untangling the Jakarta Biennale, The Jakarta Globe
Sep. 6, 2011 Where is the Front Page in Cyber Space, New York Times Blog
June 1, 2010 Artist Tattoos Indelible Iraq Memorial Into His Skin _ NPR
March 16, 2010 105,000 Tattoos_ Iraqi Artist Wafaa Bilal Turns His Own Body Into A Canvas to Commemorate
March 9, 2010 “Shoot an Iraqi" artist Wafaa Bilal to visit SF-
March 7, 2010 Wafaa Bilal - Conceptual Art Installation Invites Viewer To Shoot At An Iraqi - LIFE
Jan 9, 2010 Across Divide in Iraq, a Sunni Courts Shiites, The New York Times
April 3, 2009 Freshdaily,
Dec 2, 2008 Alternet Would You “Shoot an Iraqi” in Cyberspace?
Mar 23, 2008 Games Wafaa Bilal’s Political Game Censored, Select Parks:Politcal ,
Mar 21, 2008 ‘Virtual Jihadi’Exhibit Creates Controversy, Polytechnic Online,
Mar 17, 2008 SAIC’s Wafaa Bilal Censored, Timeout Chicago,
Mar 10, 2008 Artist's terror-themed work won't be shown at RPI, amNewYork,
Mar 8, 2008 Terror-Themed Game Suspended, Washington Post,
Dec 30, 2007 Wafaa Bilal: Interactive performance piece is altering perspectives on war, one paintball at a time, Chicago Tribune,
Dec 7, 2007 2007 Chicagoans of the Year: Art, Los Angeles Times,
May, 29, 2007 Newsweek online (front page),
May 29, 2007 Iraqi Artist Puts Himself in the Line of Fire, CNET,
June 15, 2007 BBC- Wafaa Bilal,
May 11, 2007 Shoot an Iraqi in Real Time, Gridskipper, May 11, 2007 CNN Newsroom,


May 1, 2009 Art Asia Pacific New York, NY
May, 2009 Banipal, Magazine for the Arab Literature UK
June 2, 2009 The Socialist Review London, UK
June 2, 2009 Booklist online,
May 1, 2009 Art Asia Pacific New York, NY
2009 Banipal, Magazine for the Arab Literature UK
Jan, 15, 2009 Weekly Dig


March, 2011 ABC 7 News
Dec. 3, 2010 CNN
May, 2007 BBC
May, 2007 CNN
Jan, 2003 MSNBC


Feb. 9, 2012 American Public Media
June 1st, 2010 NPR
Mar 11, 2009 The WorldStream Radio Los Angeles, CA
Dec 18, 2008 The World with Marco Werman on PRI's New York, NY
Nov 2008 The World, NPR Chicago, IL
May 2007 NPR All things considered


Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art Doha, Qatar
The Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, IL
The Milwaukee Art Museum Milwaukee, WI

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