Wesaam Al-Badry was born in Nasiriyah, Iraq. When Al-Badry was seven years old, at the outset of what became known as the Gulf War, Al-Badry’s mother fled on foot with her five children, including his six-day-old sister, as artillery shells fell around them. After hiking for three days, sometimes through knee-deep mud, they arrived at a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia.
In late 1994, Al-Badry and his family were relocated to Lincoln, Nebraska after spending four-and-a-half years in a refugee camp. As a young man growing up in middle America, Al-Badry fiercely felt the disconnect between his experiences in Iraq, the refugee camps, and his new home.
These formidable experiences have sculpted Al-Badry’s work, which focuses on imaging the human struggle with dignity and love.
Wesaam Al-Badry is an investigative, New Media journalist and interdisciplinary artist working with themes related to identity, labor, migration, Islamophobia, war and technology. His work focuses on the Middle East and the North African diaspora, specifically how representations of the region's popular culture appears in the Western media.
Al-Badry has worked for global media outlets, including CNN and Al-Jazeera America. His photographs have been featured in the New York Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Atlantic, NPR, Fortune, The Nation, and Mother Jones. Al-Badry has received The John Collier Jr. Award for Still Photography, Dorothea Lange Fellowship, the Jim Marshall Fellowship for Photography, The National Geographic Society fellowship, Magnum Foundation, and The Emerson Collective. His artwork has been exhibited internationally at museums including the de Young Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco, the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, Germany, and Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City.
He currently resides between Berkeley, CA and Lincoln, NE. Al-Badry received his master’s in New Media journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and his BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Al-Badry is represented by the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in San Francisco and New York for editorial work Contact Press Images, NYC