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Art and War in Iraq

David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

Friday, April 5, 2013 from 12:15 PM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

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Event Details

The David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University will present a symposium entitled Art and War in Iraq on Friday, April 5, 2013 from 12:15-5:30 pm in the List Art Center Auditorium. The symposium marks the opening of the gallery's spring exhibitions— the American premier 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 – 7:30 pm. In addition, a screening of Rory Kennedy’s documentary film entitled Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, will be held on April 18, at 5:30 pm in the List Art Center Auditorium. All events are free and open to the public.

Seating for the symposium is limited, so please reserve your ticket today.


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: The Intermediary-Spaces of 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, 5:30 pm

Screening: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007)

Directed by Rory Kennedy. Running time: 78 min.

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, 2013, through Sunday, May 26, 2013. An opening reception will be held on Friday, April 5, 2013, in List Art Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

Have questions about Art and War in Iraq? Contact David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University

When & Where

List Art Center Auditorium
64 College St
Providence, RI 02912

Friday, April 5, 2013 from 12:15 PM to 5:30 PM (EDT)

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