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"168:01" continues with Kickstarter Gold! Let’s remodel the library at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad.
"168:01" continues with Kickstarter Gold! Let’s remodel the library at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad.
176 backers pledged $5,000 to help bring this project to life.

Tune In for Our Livestream Q&A with Wafaa TODAY July 17th and A New Volunteer Profile!

We are so excited for today's Livestream Q&A happening at 3:00 PM PDT / 6:00 PM EST! This is your opportunity to ask Wafaa questions about the project and hear more from your fellow donors and supporters.  

https://live.kickstarter.com/wafaa-bilal/live/livestream-q-and-a-with-wafaa-bilal

Today we are sharing an interview with another 168:01 volunteer, Christine Donley. Christine has helped out with collecting book donations, running the Facebook page for 168:01, and managing the project updates on the current Kickstarter campaign. 

1) Tell us about yourself!  

I am a San Francisco based….jack of all trades! My paid work has mainly been in the corporate world, based around digital print production and marketing. I’ve also done professional work as a photographer, writer, and marketer for creative businesses/makers and artists, though the majority of my art world experience has been volunteer work. 

I spent many years volunteering at San Francisco based gallery, Southern Exposure, starting as a gallery intern, the curatorial committee intern, and later, a member of the curatorial committee where we group curated exhibitions, planned events and participated in decision making for the gallery.  

After I had my son in 2007, I started a blog called Diary of An Art Lover where I researched and shared my findings on international art and culture with a focus on cultural, narrative, sustainable, and artistic production in/around the Middle East. Today, I’m most interested in exploring artists as agents of social change and creators of narratives and structures that support the emergence of a more just world.  

2) How did you get involved in this project?  

Photography credit: Frank Piccolo
Photography credit: Frank Piccolo

Around January of 2016, I started seeing Wafaa's 168:01 Kickstarter campaign and upcoming exhibition all over my Facebook newsfeed. I was instantly drawn into the project because I found it to be aesthetically and conceptually appealing, and I loved the end result of the project, the rebuilding of the Library and collection at the University of Baghdad. I reached out to Wafaa and eventually joined his volunteer team. 

Art Book Donations from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library
Art Book Donations from the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library

I mainly worked to bring in book donations while 168:01 was showing at Art Gallery of Windsor and Esker Foundation. Some efforts were done via email, responding to individuals who contacted Wafaa about making a donation and reaching out individuals and organizations around the world to facilitate book donations. I also approached Bay Area curators, galleries, artists, and museums about supporting the project. The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library were big supporters, allowing us to select 100 books from their main store at Fort Mason. I used the Amazon wish list as a guide in selecting books on art history, technique, and theory around fine art, photography, and filmmaking... I also selected books about Bay Area artists and movements. 

Chronicle Books Donation to 168:01
Chronicle Books Donation to 168:01

A visit to the San Francisco Art Book Fair resulted in another 100 or so books donated by Chronicle Books, Themes and Projects, Kadist SF, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Another amazing donation came from the private collection of Oakland Museum’s René de Guzman. I was not surprised that the Bay Area was so generous and supportive of the project! 168:01 has been a very engaging project wherever it goes. 

3) What are you currently working on related this project? 

 I’m currently running the Facebook page and writing the updates for the Kickstarter campaign. I create my best work when I’m really passionate about a project or artist/maker, and I find this project deeply inspiring. I find the big picture of what Wafaa and the University of Baghdad are doing, and what we collectively as volunteers and donors are doing, as not only inspiring but a model for social transformation. I hope that what we do inspires others to use the power they have to create what they want to see in the world. In our case, we can see the power of innovation and collective action. San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, one of our book donors, has identified with "Center For The Art Of Doing Something About It".  Each of us can be our own center and use the power we have to do something about the things that matter to us. 

 

4) Tell us your wishes for the project?  

I would love to see 168:01 exhibited in San Francisco, as part of a solo exhibit or part of an exhibition that I curate. Beyond that, I look forward to seeing everything that Wafaa and the students and faculty at the University of Baghdad have worked for come to fruition. I look forward to the day when the library is remodeled and filled with the books we are sending, knowing that the students are using the library and new collection in their practices. That’s really my wish for the project...that all of the potentials we see and feel are realized.  And selfishly, I can't wait to see that art that is produced as a result!  

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