Wafaa Bilal: Indulge Me


Feb 01, 2025–Aug 17, 2025


Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago IL 60611

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Wafaa Bilal (b. 1966, Najaf, Iraq), Rendering of Canto III, 2023. © Wafaa Bilal. Courtesy of the artist.

Wafaa Bilal: Indulge Me is the first major survey of internationally renowned artist Wafaa Bilal (2021 Awardee). Working in performance, sculpture, and with online and interactive technologies, Bilal’s interdisciplinary practice investigates the dynamic between international and interpersonal politics while highlighting the tension between his home in the United States, which he has deemed the “comfort zone,” and the “conflict zone” of Iraq. The exhibition covers the breadth of Bilal’s versatile career by exploring his performance practice, the use of power in Saddam Hussein’s regime, and Iraqi history and antiquity. It will feature archival displays of his iconic month-long performance Domestic Tension (2007) and year-long performance 3rdi (2010–11), as well as two new works including a sculptural commission for the MCA.

A theme running throughout the exhibition is cultural cannibalism—that is, how culture (in particular the culture of the other) can be used, disassembled, and consumed. Within each of Bilal’s works, one can find metaphorical and literal traces of this idea. Whether through the artist leveraging his own body to interrogate notions of power, or through his use of innovative technologies to rectify acts of cultural destruction, Bilal shows us what it means to consciously engage across cultures while highlighting the negative global implications of consumption, exploitation, and profiteering.

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