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Central Standard

The Iraqi Refugee Portrait Project

On this Tuesday's Central Standard, an Iraqi refugee explores the time he spent in a refugee camp through photographs. In his images, widows show him the one item they kept when they fled their homes.

Our guest photographer Wesaam Al-Badry has lived in Lincoln, Nebraska since 1994. In that time, he’s been called a sand n****r, a towel head, and Bin-Laden. He's been called a terrorist. As a result, he’s found himself in a lot of fights, leading US Immigration to question his moral character, and withhold citizenship.

As Al-Badry toldThe Reader in 2009:

Fighting is not hatred. Ethnic cleansing, rape, murder, genocide — that is hatred. There is no God if yo“u believe in hatred.”

In this show, we hear the story of when his home Al-Nasiriyah was seized by Shiite rebels looking to overthrow Saddam, and ask him to explore how his understanding of violence and humanity have evolved over the years.

This portrait project is just the first step in his plans for a larger body of work. He plans to also photograph refugees from Somalia and Sudan. As Al-Badry explains, "Once you're a refugee, you're a refugee of every camp in the world."

Wesaam Al-Badry, artist (website/blog)

You can see the Iraqi Refugee Portrait Project on display at the Late Show Gallery, 1600 Cherry Street, through August.  He will also be giving an artist talk at the Late Show Gallery on July 11th at 6:30 p.m., with a reception at 6 p.m. Space is limited, but you can register your spot with Hello Art.