Artist: Wafaa Bilal

Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi-born artist who was forced to flee his home country in 1991. He uses this experience to inform his work. Bilal is well known for his performative work and installations, which encourage conversation about international politics and internal dynamics.

I feel very sad while going through his work. I’m ashamed at how uninformed I am about countries the middle east. Bilal uses common misconceptions and ignorance to fuel his art. The letter change in Iraq/Iran helps visualize how interchangeable they appear to be when they are very different countries.

We are privileged, comfortable, and desensitized in the U.S. Deaths are but a number to many. Wafaa Bilal’s work brings attention to his people, giving them a name, an identity, and even a place on his body.  He reminds us that the consequences of oppression last long after the trauma has passed.

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