Wafaa Bilal
Arabic Title

I Don't Know Their Names - A Durational Performance

April 1 - May 10

Bilal will engage in a durational performance daily in the Linfield Gallery to begin the exhibition from
Tuesday, April 1 - Friday, April 4 during regular gallery hours, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The performance will continue on Saturday, April 5, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Artist Talk, Wednesday, April 2, 6 p.m. in the Linfield Gallery  :   A reception will follow

Bilal is known internationally for his interactive works provoking dialogue aboutworld politics and internal dynamics. “I Don’t Know Their Names” answers acommon refrain in conflicts -- that as casualties escalate, the personal stories ofeach tragedy are lost in the dehumanizing scale of modern warfare. Faces andstories denigrate to names; names denigrate to numbers. War memorials oftenname the soldiers whose lives are lost in combat, but rarely is equal attentiongiven to the civilians of conflict. The exhibit responds to questions, such as whatare the names behind the numbers? And who were they?

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal, an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’sTisch School of the Arts, is known internationally for his on-line performative andinteractive works provoking dialogue about international politics and internaldynamics. For his 2010-2011, the 3rdi, Bilal had a camera surgically implanted onthe back of his head to spontaneously transmit images to the web 24 hours a day– a statement on surveillance, the mundane and the things we leave behind. Bilal’s2010 work “…And Counting” similarly used his own body as a medium. His backwas tattooed with a map of Iraq and dots representing Iraqi and US casualties – theIraqis in invisible ink seen only under a black light.

Bilal’s 2007 installation, Domestic Tension, also addressed the Iraq war. Bilal spenta month in a Chicago gallery with a paintball gun that people could shoot at himover the internet. The Chicago Tribune called it “one of the sharpest works ofpolitical art to be seen in a long time” and named him 2008 Artist of the Year. Bilal’swork is constantly informed by the experience of fleeing his homeland and existingsimultaneously in two worlds – his home in the “comfort zone” of the U.S. and hisconsciousness of the “conflict zone” in Iraq. Bilal suffered repression underSaddam Hussein’s regime and fled Iraq in 1991 during the first Gulf War. After twoyears in refugee camps in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, he came to the U.S. where hegraduated from the University of New Mexico and then obtained an MFA at theSchool of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2008 City Lights published “Shoot an Iraqi:Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun,” about Bilal’s life and theDomestic Tension project.

Wafaa Bilal


Exhibitions of regional, national and international stature are on view throughout the academic year in the 1,500 square foot space at Linfield College. Patrons can expect challenging shows that exemplify diverse approaches to the practice of contemporary visual art. Exhibits are organized by Linfield Gallery Curator and Director Cris Moss.

All exhibits are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is located in the James Miller Fine Arts Center on the Linfield College campus (map). Ample parking is free. For more information, call (503) 883-2804.