Three Contemporary Artists

Sinan Antoon, Wafaa Bilal, and Michael Rakowitz with Gordon Knox

Monday, December 17, 2007 | 7:30 - 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Second of Five-Part Series with Montalvo Arts Center

In this installment, we hear from three artists whose work helps reshape our understanding of Iraqi culture and the damage the war has wrought.  They will tell their stories, show their art, and join us in a public conversation.

The IRAQ: REFRAME project is rooted in the belief that ideas expressed in various forms of art are critical to a meaningful dialogue concerning major issues in our time.

IRAQ: REFRAME is an innovative series of visual, performing, and media arts at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga through April 2008.  The Aurora Forum is pleased to join with the Montalvo Arts Center to present five public conversations with scholars, artists, and journalists whose engaged knowledge of past and present conflicts in the Mesopotamian cradle of civilization will reframe our understanding of current circumstances.

Sinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, and translator with a Ph.D. in Arabic literature from Harvard University. He studied English literature at Baghdad University before moving to the United States after the 1991 Gulf War.  He directed and was featured in About Baghdad, a documentary about the lives of Iraqis in a post-Saddam-occupied Iraq.  He has published a collection of poems, Mawshur Muballal bil-Huroob (A Prism: Wet with Wars), and a novel, I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody, released in an English version by City Lights. He is an assistant professor at New York University.

Wafaa Bilal was born in Iraq in 1966 and came to the United States in 1992. He studied geography and geology at the University of Baghdad before completing an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he is now a faculty member.  As a performance artist, video artist, and curator, he works with a variety of media to convey the political and emotional complexities surrounding the wars in Iraq.  His most recent installation, Aldar Al-Iraqi, The Iraqi House, is on the Montalvo Arts Center grounds.

Michael Rakowitz was born in New York City in 1973 and earned a master's degree in visual studies at MIT in 1998. His recent shows include The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist with Lombard-Freid Projects  (2007) and Return with Creative Time (2006).  For Return, he reopened Davisons & Co., the import-export business operated in Baghdad by his Iraqi-Jewish grandfather who established it in Brooklyn when the family was exiled from Iraq in 1946. The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist reconstructs archeological artifacts looted from the National Museum of Iraq in the aftermath of the American invasion in April 2003. He is an associate professor in art theory and practice at Northwestern University.

GORDON KNOX (moderator) is Director of Global Initiatives at Montalvo Arts Center.

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