Richard Wilding

Richard Wilding is a London based photographer, writer and public speaker working internationally with museums, charities and governments. He specialises in the documentation of cultural identity (especially archaeology, architecture and costume) in the Middle East and is working on long-term projects in Iraqi Kurdistan and Saudi Arabia.

Wilding has given public talks at Leighton House Museum and the Ismaili Centre, London. He has given lectures for the Reconciliation and Peacebuilding programme at the University of Winchester, for the Department of Archaeology at the University of Reading and for the Sackler Research Forum at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

Saudi Arabia

In 2003, Richard produced a short film about the Mansoojat collection of Arabian costumes, which was shown in 2006 at the V&A Museum, London. Between 2010 and 2017 he has undertaken extensive photography trips through Saudi Arabia documenting the traditional culture and costume.

In 2012, Richard organized a costumes display with Mansoojat in the Great Court at The British Museum to coincide with the exhibition Hajj: Journey to the Heart of Islam. In Spring 2014, he co-ordinated two exhibitions in Madinah, consisting of Word, an exhibition of calligraphy works from the British Museum, London and Illumination, the first major photography exhibition staged in Saudi Arabia.

Iraqi Kurdistan

Since 2012, Richard Wilding has been Creative Director of Gulan, a UK registered charity which promotes Kurdish culture. He has travelled extensively through Iraqi Kurdistan, photographing its people and heritage.

In collaboration with Gulan’s Artistic Director Della Murad, Richard designed for the Kurdistan Regional Government the national badge for the remembrance of the victims of the Kurdish Genocide.  This was first used on 16th March 2013 at the 25th anniversary commemorations of the chemical weapons attack on Halabja.

In October 2013, Richard was awarded an outreach grant by The British Institute for the Study of Iraq (Gertrude Bell Memorial) towards his photography of the Erbil citadel.

Richard’s connections with the Courtauld Institute of Art in London led to the discovery of photographs by Anthony Kersting in the Courtauld archives depicting life in 1940’s Kurdistan. These have been exhibited by Gulan at the Royal Geographical Society and the British Academy, London.

Richard Wilding’s exhibition Return to Kurdistan shows Iraqi Kurdistan and Northern Iraq in Wilding’s contemporary photography, alongside Anthony Kersting’s historical photographs.

In 2016, Gulan took Return to Kurdistan to the cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan. The exhibition was hosted in the Erbil citadel by the High Commission for Erbil Citadel Revitalisation, and in Sulaymaniyah by the Talary Saray Sulimani. In February 2017, Return to Kurdistan was exhibited at the Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, London and from May to September 2017 is exhibited at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies.