SF Camerawork is proud to present a new body of work by rising photography star Wesaam Al-Badry. Our Sons will be on view in the gallery Project Space from May 11 through July 1, 2017.
Our Sons is a documentary project about Bay Area mothers who have lost their sons to gun violence. Over the course of 2 years, Al-Badry photographed mothers, in their homes and with their son’s belongings, to create this personal, intimate portrayal of the tragedy caused by gun violence in our communities.
Al-Badry began the project as response to the recent increases and growing awareness of gun homicides in the Bay Area. Though Al-Badry grew up during the war in Iraq and witnessed mothers lose their children to violence, he was alarmed to see young African-Americans being murdered at an increasing rate and wanted to find a way to tell their story. Al-Badry saw a resemblance between how mothers in the U.S. and mothers in Iraq mourned their murdered children. Upon the death of his grandmother, he and his family found that she had held onto the belongings of her son, who had been killed at the age of 19 during the Iraq-Iran war in 1989. His grandmother had kept her son's cassettes, shirts, and toothbrush as a way to keep his memory alive. In working with Bay Area mothers, Al-Badry found that they also are holding on dearly to their son's belongings, often leaving their sons' rooms and possessions undisturbed.
Our Sons presents a combination of portraits of the mothers along with photographs of their sons' belongings, and makes a powerful statement about the reality of gun violence to the individuals who are suffering its consequences. In Al- Badry's words: "The project shows that a mother's pain of losing of a child, no matter what country, race or ethnicity, is universal."
ABOUT WESAAM AL-BADRY:
Wesaam Al-Badry was born in Nasiriyah, Iraq, and lived at a refugee camp in Saudia Arabia until his family was relocated to Nebraska in 1994. He began photographing while still at the refugee camp, and has worked on many journalistic and documentary projects addressing social issues. He is currently photographing for CNN and Al-Jazeera America while pursuing his BFA in Photography at the San Francisco Art Institute.