More about that artist at RPI who had his exhibition suspended

wafaa bilalAfter seeing the article this morning about RPI suspending the exhibition of "Virtual Jihadi," we were curious about Wafaa Bilal - - the artist behind the work. And it turns out he has quite a story.

According to his bio, Bilal was born in Iraq and fled the country after he got involved with an anti-Saddam movement. He ended up in a refugee camp in Kuwait, got shipped to Saudi Arabia and in 1992 found his way to the US. He still has family in Iraq and, according to that bio, his brother was killed by stray US gunfire.

Bilal created a big stir in the art world last year with his work "Domestic Tension." He set up himself up in a room for an entire month and let people shoot yellow paint balls at him via the web.

About his work, Bilal writes:

My art is most influenced by the pain and suffering of growing up under Sadaam Hussein's repressive rule from 1968 to the recent "Iraqi Freedom War".I experienced violence on a daily basis, and visions of death and terror together with the anguish to the Iraqi people are irrevocably etched in my memory. My generation in Iraq is defined by decades of war. Since coming to the United States I have also seen great injustice and suffering in the forms of poverty, racism, and many other forms of discrimination and hatred. From this point of departure, through art I strive to uncover an overarching human condition while creating a space for provocation, dialogue, and contemplation.

screengrab: Wafaa Bilal on YouTube

Comments

Isn't art supposed to be controversial and thought provoking? What happened to freedom of speech and making up our minds...

I agree. I found it quite peculiar that RPI has the new arts center because of its academic and military background. The military and art don't go hand in hand for a reason. And let us not forget there is no freedom of speech in the military. This is all so unfortunate.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Thank you!

...has 27 comments, most recently from Ashley

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine