Wafaa Bilal is an Iraqi American artist who is known for his video, electronic, and new media art. It is known for starting dialogue about global politics among individuals. He has permanent collections in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art and as well as other museums across the world.
Bilal credits his art to his upbringing under the repression and violence in Iraq. He is also influenced by his experiences of injustice and suffering in the US. Bilal’s work revolves around his two worlds; the “comfort zone” of the US and the “conflict zone” in Iraq. Over time, Bilal’s work has evolved from personally using his body as a way to create art to more structures and statues.
I found Bilal’s piece and Counting… truly inspiring. It was a 24-hour event where he turned his body into a canvas. He tattooed a map of Iraq on on his back by covering it with one dot for each Iraqi and American casualty near the cities where they fell. I found it amazing what artists do for their work – especially by letting their bodies be the center piece of their work.
I found this to be INSANE!!!! I can’t believe Bilal got a rod inserted into his spine to take pictures of his surroundings every minute. I understand the point he is making and what it would be like if we all had a third eye, but at the same time, it is something that could have turn out really badly.
I found this piece to be really emotional. It reminds me of the aftermath of an explosion. There is just emptiness that no words can describe other than eerie. It speaks so much to what is happening in the world today, in the US and overseas. There is so much violence in the world that needs to end and less buildings and rooms, like this, due to terror and extremism.