Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal’s exhibition Wafaa Bilal: 168:01 at the Art Gallery of Windsor addresses the cyclical history of violence against cultural institutions, and libraries in particular, during times of war and conflict. It is composed of a central bookshelf that occupies most of the gallery space. The shelves are filled with white books. As the exhibition progresses through a subtle durational performance, the white books will be replaced with donations of real books that were torched at the library of the College of Fine Arts, University of Baghdad.
The exhibition is linked to a Kickstarter campaign to replace all 1,000 blank books in the exhibition with educational texts. At the end of the exhibition, all of the texts will be shipped to the College of Fine Arts in Baghdad, beginning the process of rebuilding their library.