Wafaa Bilal

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Wafaa Bilal is a Chicago-based visual artist. He holds a BFA from the University of New Mexico and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Born in Najaf, Iraq, he grew up during the time of the Ba'ath Party's rise to power and lived through the Iran-Iraq War. Later he attended the University of Baghdad, where he studied geology and geography. When the Gulf War began in 1991, Bilal and his family survived relentless bombing by coalition forces, eventually being caught in the mass uprising that swept the country following Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait. Under suspicion of being a dissident, Bilal was blacklisted and joined hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Iraq in 1991. His harrowing journey took him through Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and eventually to the United States in 1992. Through his artwork, Bilal strives to raise awareness of the situation in Iraq and to counter the sense of powerlessness people feel in the face of such inhumanity. Currently he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is represented by FlatFile Galleries both individually and as a member of Crudeoils. http://www.wafaabilal.com