Wafaa Bilal, "The Ashes Series: Al-Mutanabbi Street," 2003-2013
Wafaa Bilal, "The Ashes Series: Al-Mutanabbi Street," 2003-2013, archival inkjet photograph, 40” x 50”
Iraqi-born, New York-based artist Wafaa Bilal’s 168:01 features a makeshift library filled with empty white books. They symbolize the priceless cultural heritage destroyed by Mongols at Bayt al-Hikma, a major academic centre during the Islamic Golden Age, as well as cultural institutions decimated more recently in Iraq. Visitors can donate books on a wish list compiled by the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad. The institution's library was looted and destroyed in 2003.