“Art and War in Iraq” Symposium

“Art and War in Iraq” Symposium

David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University

Left: Wafaa Bilal, Chair, 2003–2013. Archival inkjet photograph. Courtesy the artist. Right: Daniel Heyman, There were Three Interrogators, 2007. Gouache, watercolor, sumi ink, and pencil. Courtesy of the artist and Cade Tompkins Projects.
March 7, 2013
“Art and War in Iraq” Symposium

Friday, April 5, 2013, 12:15–5:30pm

David Winton Bell Gallery
List Art Center, Brown University
64 College Street, Providence, RI  02912  USA
Hours: Monday–Friday 11–4pm, Saturday–Sunday 1–4pm
Admission is free


The David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University will present a symposium titled “Art and War in Iraq” on Friday, April 5 from 12:15 to 5:30pm in the List Art Center Auditorium. The symposium marks the opening of the gallery’s spring exhibitions—the American premiere of The Ashes Series by Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal and I am Sorry It is Difficult to Start by American artist Daniel Heyman. An opening reception for the exhibitions will follow the symposium from 5:30 to 7:30pm. In addition, a screening of Rory Kennedy’s documentary film titled Ghosts of Abu Ghraib will be held on April 18 at 5:30pm in the List Art Center Auditorium. All events are free and open to the public.

Seating for the symposium is limited, so please RSVP by reserving your free ticket here.


About Art and War in Iraq
Ten years since the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom and twenty-three years since the first Gulf War, the ramifications of the armed invasions and occupations of the Republic of Iraq by the United States continue to be felt by the Iraqi people as well as throughout the Middle East and the world. Amidst these fraught conflicts, artists have offered responses to the complexities of war and the challenges of its aftermath. The Art and War in Iraq symposium brings together American, Iraqi, and Middle Eastern artists, scholars, and critics to address the impacts of the wars in Iraq and the wider conflicts in the Middle East, with special attention to contemporary artistic practices in Iraq and its diaspora. 

Participants include
Wafaa Bilal, Artist and Assistant Arts Professor, Photography, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
Lecture: “Making the Invisible Visible”

Daniel Heyman, Artist and Lecturer, Rhode Island School of Design, and Critic, Princeton University
Lecture: “The Iraqi Portraits”

Meir Wigoder, School of Communication, Sapir College, Sderot and the Faculty of the Arts, Tel Aviv University
Lecture: “Constructing Deconstruction: Wafaa Bilal’s The Ashes Series”

Susanne Slavick, Artist and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art, Carnegie Mellon University
Lecture: “Out of Rubble”

Rijin Sahakian, Founding Director, Sada for contemporary Iraqi art
Lecture: “The right to engage: Arts production in Baghdad”

Nada Shabout, Associate Professor of Art History and Director of Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute (CAMCSI), University of North Texas
Moderator for final panel discussion

Support for the Art and War in Iraq is provided by Brown University’s Woods Lectureship,Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Department of Modern Culture and Media, and Creative Arts Council

April 18, 5:30pm
Screening: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007)
Directed by Rory Kennedy. Running time: 78 minutes
Followed by a conversation between Joshua Neves, Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, and Jo-Ann Conklin, David Winton Bell Gallery
About the exhibitions:
Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal’s The Ashes Series is comprised of ten photographs of models constructed by the artist. These models were built based on mass-syndicated images of the destruction of Iraq in the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Bilal has removed the human figures that were present in the original images, replacing them with 21 grams of human ashes distributed throughout all ten models. The exhibition was curated by Ian Alden Russell. 

Daniel Heyman’s Iraqi Portraits give voice to the former detainees of Abu Ghraib. In 2005, Heyman traveled to Jordan and Turkey with American lawyers to observe the testimony of persons held without charges at the prison. As he listened, Heyman drew portraits of the witnesses surrounded by his transcription of their testimony. The exhibition was curated by Jo-Ann Conklin. 

Both exhibitions are open to the public from Wednesday, April 3, through Sunday, May 26. An opening reception will be held on Friday, April 5, in List Art Center, beginning at 5:30pm. 


RSVP for “Art and War in Iraq” Symposium
David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University
March 7, 2013

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