He later moved to Chicago, where he earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003, and became an adjunct assistant professor the following year. He has traveled the world and spread word of the situation of the Iraqi people, and the significance of peaceful conflict resolution.In May 2007, Bilal began a 30-day-long project called Domestic Tension in protest of the Iraq War.The inspiration for Domestic Tension stemmed from Bilal's experiences in refugee camps during the rule of Saddam Hussein, losing members of his family in the war, and trying to cope with the reality of war as it raged on the other side of the world.One day, Bilal learned that his people were being killed by soldiers who were not even stationed in Iraq—they had the power to shoot missiles "from an armchair in front of a computer somewhere, as if it were all some kind of video game." Frightened by how easily soldiers (and Americans) could distance themselves from the terrors of war, Bilal used Domestic Tension as a way to constantly remind himself of the horrors going on in Iraq.Wafaa Bilal created a computer based art piece titled Night of Bush Capturing: Virtual Jihadi which is a modified version of the game Quest for Bush, itself a "hacked" version of the popular commercial video game Quest for Saddam.While in the real game players target the ex-Iraqi leader, in Wafaa's modified version the artist casts himself as a suicide bomber who gets sent on a mission to assassinate President George W. This artwork is meant to bring attention to the vulnerability of Iraqi civilians, to the travesties of the current war, and to expose racist generalizations and profiling.We will not use your information for any other purpose.If you are returning, simply login using your e-mail address and the password provided.
Confined within the gallery, Bilal had no way to escape the constant threat of the paintball gun, the deafening sound of the semiautomatic, or the feedback he received from viewers watching his every move online.In 1991, after refusing to volunteer to participate in the invasion of Kuwait and organizing opposition groups, he fled Iraq and lived in a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia for two years, teaching art to children.In 1992 he travelled to the United States to study art at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, from which he graduated with a BFA in 1999. missile strike at a checkpoint in 2004, something which deepened his condemnation of the Iraqi War.The decision came after the College Republicans called the Arts department "a safe haven for terrorists" on their blog. The Institute has been subsequently criticized by advocates of free speech and artistic freedom.Wafaa was asked to participate in a net art piece called Dog or Iraqi while an artist in residence at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.