Wafaa Bilal Exhibits: “The Comfort Zone” and “The American”

7:30pm CDT February 16, 2012 - 5:00pm April 4, 2012 CST

Artist in Residence Wafaa Bilal debuted two new artworks: “The Comfort Zone,” shown in the Sonnenschein Gallery, and “The American,” shown in the Albright Gallery.

Both video installations will address modernity’s deepening desensitization to violence. The installations are inspired by Bilal’s brother’s death in 2004 by a Predator drone attack in Al Kufa, Iraq. Bilal’s “The Comfort Zone” will bring viewers in front of the lens in a confrontation between perceived violence and a visceral reaction to it.

Internationally acclaimed Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal is transforming the face of art with political and social themes. Often controversial, Bilal’s work combines modern interactive technologies with provocative visuals. As a witness to, and victim of, Saddam Hussein¹s brutal rule, Bilal’s reaction has been to create work that illuminates disparities between the comfortable and remote aspects of life in the the U.S. and the violence of war in Iraq.

Praised by the Chicago Tribune as one of the sharpest works of political art, Bilal’s 2004 Domestic Tension reinvigorated debate on war in Iraq. Placing himself at the mercy of a paintball gun controlled by online viewers, “Domestic Tension” skillfully challenged the concept of virtual war. Today, Bilal’s works have become increasingly forceful and intrusive.

Bilal’s visit is supported by the AIR Committee, in partnership with the Dean of Faculty, Student Government, The Mojekwu Fund, The Art Club, The Sonnenschein Gallery, American Studies, the Art Department and the Math and Computer Science Department.


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