08 March 2016

Book Donors Sought For Wafaa Bilal’s 168:01

Via AICA-USA member Kathleen MacQueen: the Art Gallery of Windsor is seeking book donations in conjunction with its presentation of Wafaa Bilal's 168:01.

During the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad lost their entire library due to looters who set fire to the collection. More than 70,000 books were destroyed. Over thirteen years later, students at the college still have few remnants from which to study.

In 168:01, an installation of an austere white library at the Art Gallery of Windsor serves as both a monument to the staggering cultural losses endured throughout Iraq’s history as well as a platform for its potential rebirth. Comprised of a series of white shelves filled with blank tomes, the library doubles as a system of exchange connecting its physical and virtual visitors in Canada and beyond to the College of Fine Arts in Iraq. Aimed at restoring its lost archives, 168:01 positions viewers as potential donors whose contributions fund or replace educational texts from a list compiled by faculty members. As the installation accrues donations, the white library replaces the blank tomes with books from the faculty wish list, becoming saturated with knowledge. Select donors receive the blank tomes in return for their contribution. At the end of the exhibition, all donated books are to be shipped to the College of Fine Arts, beginning the process of rebuilding.

168:01 - Ways You Can Help

  • Purchase and ship a book directly from our Amazon Wishlist
  • Donate from your personal library
  • Suggest additional titles for our Wishlist
  • Purchase a leftover Kickstarter reward or donate directly through Paypal
  • Connect us with organizations who can help ship the books to Baghdad
  • Keep spreading the word!

How do I send books from 168:01′s Amazon.ca Wishlist?

Easy! Just follow these simple instructions, and keep reading below for more advice on purchasing from Amazon.ca.


  1. Visit the Wishlist: http://www.amazon.ca/registry/wishlist/3PKR2LAW73FW6
  2. Add books to your cart (see below for tips)
  3. Check out when you’re ready
  4. Select The Art Gallery of Windsor as your shipping address
  5. Enter your payment

Guidance for Purchasing:

The shopping list has been set up on Amazon.ca in order to minimize shipping and customs duties. Also, each item is set be sent directly to the Art Gallery of Windsor.

If you are purchasing from Amazon.ca directly, our advice is to purchase the cheapest “new” version you can find. Paperbook is generally preferable over hard cover; however, for a book that is likely to get a lot of wear, the purchaser should buy hardcover. Also, for many books which are older, hardcover is generally cheaper than paperback. Use your judgment about whether the price differential justifies what will be additional shipping costs to Iraq.

If you are purchasing through a third-party dealer through Amazon.ca, you should only purchase books with a condition designation of “new” or “like new”. The only exception is if the book is very desirable and there is only a “very good” copy available. Please do not purchase anything in less than “very good” condition.

Frequently, you may come across a notice that the item is “temporarily unavailable”. Don’t be put off by it. Order the book anyway. We believe that Amazon.ca keeps inventories low because most newer publications come from the U.S.

How can I donate books from my personal library?

To start, we ask that you compile a list (preferably in Excel) of the books you would like to donate and email it to Judith at 168h01s@gmail.com. Please make sure to include each book’s:

  1. Title
  2. ISBN number

This allows us to keep track of what we’re receiving and check new titles against our Amazon Wishlist. We will email you instructions for shipping to Windsor, Canada once we’ve received your list.

Ideally, we would like all donations to be sent to Windsor, Canada so they can:

  1. Be part of the 168:01 exhibition at the Art Gallery of Windsor
  2. Be sent to Baghdad in one shipment from Canada

We realize that international shipping costs may be a deterrent for many people. With this in mind, we are planning to set up a collection center in New York, NY in the near future. If you would like to wait to donate until we have officially set this up, feel free to send along your lists and we’ll contact you when we have the information ready.

I am a professor, academic or expert in my artistic specialty - are you open to expanding your Wishlist? I have some suggestions.

Absolutely! Our Wishlist is off to a great start, but is nowhere near as comprehensive as it could be. If you think we are missing some important titles, we welcome you to compile a list of the books you would suggest and email it to Judith at 168h01s@gmail.com. Please make sure to include each book’s:

  1. Academic Department
  2. Title
  3. ISBN number

I missed the Kickstarter! Can I still contribute and get a reward?


Approximately 250 of the limited edition artist books from the installation of 168:01 are still available. Each hardcover book is signed personally by me and numbered with its edition. Each book measures 8.5 x 1.25 x 6.25 inches and contains 400 blank pages, along with one page of text describing the project.

Domestic Price (Within the US): $25 (+ $7.50 shipping)

International price: $25 (+ $25 shipping)

Please keep in mind that the 168:01 installation will travel to one additional venue after the Art Gallery of Windsor- book orders will be shipped out from New York after the final exhibition ends. To Purchase via Paypal, please visit: http://wafaabilal.com/168h01s-support/

Can I just send you a monetary donation? What will you do with the funds?

You may! Every penny we receive will be used for 168:01 and the eventual restoration of the library at the College of Fine Arts in Baghdad. We are using the funds from Kickstarter and future donations for things like:

  • Purchasing books from library’s Wishlist and mailing them to the Art Gallery of Windsor
  • Shipping locally donated books to the Art Gallery of Windsor
  • Shipping all of the books to Baghdad after 168:01‘s exhibition period ends
  • Remodeling the interior of the College of Fine Arts’ library to make space for all the new books

To Donate via Paypal, please visit: http://wafaabilal.com/168h01s-support/

Headquartered in New York, AICA-USA's membership comprises over 400 critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States.