While his work focuses on photo reportage and documentary, Al-Badry also creates multimedia art that challenges and investigates social norms. Al-Badry currently resides in San Francisco, where he is pursuing a BFA in photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. Wesaam Al-Badry was born in 1984 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 three-day-old sister, as artillery shells fell around them. After hiking all night, sometimes through knee-deep mud, they arrived at a refugee camp in Saudi Arabia.
In 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 and the refugee camps and his new American reality.
Bearing witness to the aftermath of the Iraq-Iran war that shaped the contemporary human condition into one of paranoia and distrust and his first-hand experiences living through Desert Storm and in refugee camps has sculpted Al-Badry’s work, which focuses on capturing the dispossessed, the alienated and ultimately, human dignity.
Al-Badry has worked for global media outlets, including CNN and Al-Jazeera America. His photographs have been featured in campaigns for the UNHCR, the ACLU, and other global organizations.