Biography

Wafaa Bilal is known internationally for his online performative and interactive works that provoke dialogue about international and interpersonal politics. His work explores the tension between the cultural spaces he occupies—his home in the comfort zone of the United States and his consciousness in the conflict zone in Iraq.

Bilal’s solo exhibitions include The Things I Could Tell…, artpace, San Antonio, Texas, US (2018); 168:01, Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, US (2017); Wafaa Bilal: 168:01, Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada (2016); Canto III, New York Armory Show, US (2015); The Ashes Series, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence, US (2013); Dynamic Encounter, Aksioma - Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2012); ...And Counting, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York (2010); and WAFAA BILAL: Three Bodies, Davidson College, US (2010). Among his group exhibitions are National Veterans Art Museum Triennial, Chicago Culture Center, US (2019); Bodies of Knowledge, Theater of Operations, PS1 MoMA, New York, US( 2019), New Orleans Museum of Art, US (2019); Electronic Superhighway, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016); the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) and SPACE, Pittsburgh, US (2012); Subversion, Cornerhouse, Manchester (2012); and 14th Jakarta Biennale (2011).

His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, among others.

He was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s leading 100 Global Thinkers of 2016, and received an award from the New York Foundation of the Arts (2012) and was honoured as a Commended Artist by the Freedom to Create Prize, Cape Town (2011). He was also one of ARTFORUM’s Critics’ Picks (2010).

Bilal is currently an Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He holds a BFA from the University of New Mexico and an MFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was awarded an honorary PhD by DePauw University, US.

Born in 1966 in Najaf, Iraq, Bilal currently lives and works in New York.

SAF participation:
Art in the Age of Anxiety (2020)

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Bilal, Wafaa

Art in the Age of Anxiety

The most ambitious exhibition in the region to date exploring art in the age of the internet, Art in the Age of Anxiety opens to the public from 26 June 2020 onwards. To view this exhibition, book your visit here.