Louvre Abu Dhabi Showcases Some of the Rarest Images From the Arab World in the 19th Century
By Muhammed Aladdin.
Hanging on the maroon-painted wall of the exhibition is an 1881 photograph of the Holy City of Mecca. Somewhere close to it is one of a dead crocodile on a boat in the Nile in Egypt; these, and many others are a few of the world’s oldest photographs set to be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi next Thursday, 25th of April.
‘A World of Exchanges, Photographs 1842-1896: An Early Album of the World’ is the museum’s fourth cultural exhibition for the season. It ventures through the world of photography, its development over the years, and it displays some of the rare images captured by sailors and travelers in the Middle East, Asia, India, and the Americas.
Over 250 of the world’s oldest, rarest photographs are showcased in this exhibition, featuring images from 44 countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Philippines. The majority of these pictures were taken by early cameras in the time between 1842 and 1896.
Through its selection of these unique images, Louvre Abu Dhabi hopes to engage its goers in a number of fascinating historical stories and help them trace the origins of photography and how it developed as a method of documentation. The exhibition will run from the 25th of April and until the 13th of July.
According to Khaleej Times, Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), said, “Louvre Abu Dhabi aims to tell the story of humanity, and photography is one of the most important tools that has contributed to the documentation of the history of the world and its diverse cultures.”
Al-Mubarak had added that the museum hopes to give visitors a chance to travel through time and space through the eyes of 19th-century travelers. While, Manuel Rabate, the Director of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, invited people to experience the old days of photography through this worldly collection. He believes viewers will connect personally with each of the 250 stories.
There are portraits of Algerians in Paris taken in 1840; one of a boy in Mexico, which was photographed in 1848, stunning profiles of Native Americans in Latin America taken in 1871, and a portrait of a sailor Geledi, taken in Chad in 1847.
There are also photographs taken by prominent photographers such as Charles Guillain, a French captain who was part of a diplomatic voyage down the coast of Africa in 1847. In addition to Mohammad Sadiq Bey, an Egyptian Military Engineer who took the first photographs of the Holy Cities of Mecca and Madinah in 1881.