W. Mark Wilman








Mark Wilman's photographic work Discovering the Beauty of the Cyclades will have an exhibition in Milan officially approved by Il Comune di Milano (City Council of Milan) at the Acquario Civico di Milano (Aquarium of Milan) from May to June 2019. The project, which has taken over four years to create, has been proposed to UNESCO in an effort to encourage the Cyclades to become a cultural heritage of humanity.

A frequent visitor to the archipelago since age ten, Mark has enjoyed numerous experiences on the islands, freediving, rock climbing and trekking in order to discover their abundant beauty using a camera to capture his impressions along the way. He began work on the project in 2014 and remains highly focused on it until today. Now in his mid-fifties and still exercising vigorously six days a week, he appreciates how a passion for exploration has influenced his outlook.

Originally from the Notting Hill area of London, though with origins also in the Caribbean, he spent many years in Milan following a teaching and consulting career in language with a client list that included high level professionals such as Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana (influential in Mark's choice of black elegance in the Visitor galleries); Università degli Studi di Milano (University of Milan) where he lectured to PhDs, researchers and professors; national and multinational organisations in a variety of sectors, particularly the legal field and advertising where he collaborated with leading international agencies, working with many of the top creative minds in Italy for two decades.

As photographer for the Milan Cricket Club, he developed experience in capturing human movement, something decidedly useful in the Cyclades project where the female form interacts with her natural surroundings.

Milan also brought about a personal introduction to the famous artist Maurizio Cattelan, an encounter with a decisive impact. Having held regular meetings in an office inside an impressive Liberty style building in the city centre in which a piece of artwork by the celebrated Italian was placed, and even getting locked inside on one occasion by an unknowing caretaker, a natural curiosity arose. The artist was close in presence, i.e. the artwork, but never in person. This changed one winter afternoon when he found him busily writing at a desk and was introduced by a creative director also present. There was an aura of brilliance about the man, highly individual and challenging. As a consequence, Mark began questioning more closely his own ideas about visual expression. The handshake had been significant.

In the late 1990s, he met, by chance, the 41st U.S. President on a beach in the Cyclades. Tall with large hands and powerful eyes, the former leader was welcoming. After talking for some minutes surrounded by the President's many family members and security guards in bathing costumes, Mark, with young son in arms, was introduced by the President to a four star general sitting close by, who would later become Secretary of State. That unexpected experience had quite an impact encouraging him to focus his efforts as high as possible; he'd met the top, so aim for the top.

Later, he met the psychologist who would model in his photographic work. She inspired in him the desire to express the admiration he feels for the graceful female form, as the Beauty of the Female Kind and Visitor galleries will attest.

Believing strongly in the value of natural beauty as a gentle but persuasive remedy to life's complexities and, at times, unkind difficulties, experience has shown him the effort is always worth making, no matter how exhausting.

He concludes that beauty invariably triumphs over ugliness and evil; destroy beauty but a flower will grow in the place of destruction, no matter how long it takes. Beauty has a calming effect, it pacifies and produces positive emotions, encourages creativity and benefits relationships; it leads to a more evolved state of natural happiness.