RaptureSeries_ShirinNeshat-courtesyGalerieJeromedeNoirmont.jpg

From Shirin Neshat's Rapture series.

In “Bodies of Knowledge,” artists from across the globe explore the relationship between language and cultural identity in performances, installations and some works from the permanent collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA).

The expo opens Friday with a performance of the original work “Black Magic” by local dancers/choreographers Donna Crump and Edward Spots and young performers from Dancing Grounds.

Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat’s work explores images of Islamic militancy and femininity (pictured). On many Wednesdays during the expo, NOMA will show some of her moving image works, and it will screen her two feature films at Friday night events in August. Shanghai, China-based artist Zhang Huan’s work documents a daylong performance in which his family history and Chinese folktales were written on his face.

South African artist William Kentridge’s work was previously show in New Orleans via a video of animated creatures projected on a spinning cylinder that was included in Prospect.1 in 2008. This expo features his stop-motion animated film “Zeno Writing,” which depicts a figure’s life in difficult times — written, erased and rewritten on a single piece of paper.

Wafaa Bilal creates another version of his installation addressing the burning of Baghdad, Iraq’s libraries during the American invasion in 2003. It invites visitors to fill its shelves with books, which will be shipped to the University of Baghdad.

Adriana Corral, a recent artist-in-residence at the Joan Mitchell Center, created an installation documenting the murder and disappearances of women and girls in Juarez, Mexico.

Guitarist Mahmoud Chouki will lead several concerts of improvisational music in the museum’s Great Hall during the exhibition.

Opening night (5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, June 28) includes the performance of “Black Magic” and talks by artists Corral, Manon Bellet and Garrett Bradley. Through Oct. 13 at NOMA, 1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, City Park, (504) 658-4100; www.noma.org.