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Tea with Culture

Podcast featuring discussions and interviews about the cultural happenings in the United Arab Emirates presented by Hind Mezaina (The Culturist) and Wael Hattar.


Entries in Empty Quarter (3)


Oman 1971 by Bruno Barbey

© Bruno Barbey

Oman 1971 is an exhibition currently showing at Bait Al Baranda in Muscat, Oman. The exhibition is a project of The Empty Quarter in Dubai and consists of photos taken by Magnum photographer Bruno Barbey during his vist to Oman in 1971. Oman 1971 opened on 9th January 2011 and is on till 30th January 2011.

Oman commemorated it's 40th anniversary on 18th November, so this exhibition takes a look at what Oman was like 40 years ago. I managed to get a sneak peak of some of the photos thanks to The Empty Quarter  and I was drawn back to simpler times. The photos capture rare and special moments that probably mean more today compared to when they were taken. Besides photos of Muscat, the exhibition includes photos taken in Ibri, Sur and Nizwa.

If you live in Muscat and already been, lucky you. If not, you have a few more days left.

© Bruno Barbey

From Magnum Photos, Bruno Barbey says:

In 1971, during the golden era of photo-journalism, my agency Magnum Photos was distributing the features stories to the international press. That year I've photographed the war in Vietnam and Bangladesh, the conflicts in Ireland and Palestine, the inauguration of the Aswan Dam and the 2.500th anniversary of the Persian Empire at Persepolis. Then I've photographed the ceremony of independence making the formation of United Arab Emirates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

© Bruno Barbey

I had long wanted to visit Oman, a prominent nation, whose ‘dhows’ plied the oceans between Asia and Africa. It was a great privilege to obtain a visa and be invited to this country - a country that maintain its identity, its values and lifestyle. The young Sultan Qaboos Ibn Said Al Said had just come to power, and opened the country to the outside world with the end of the British colonial occupation. He effected important social reforms and modernized the state administration. Simultaneously, he dealt with the war in Dhofar in the south.

© Bruno Barbey

What struck me in particular, was a strong resemblance to the south of Morocco and its Grand Atlas Mountains. As in Morocco, the country of my childhood, the Sultanate of Oman managed to keep a sense of human solidarity and harmony with nature. Its inhabitants have adapted themselves to the modern world while retaining their traditions and remarkable cultural heritage.

© Bruno Barbey© Bruno Barbey

© Bruno Barbey© Bruno Barbey

© Bruno Barbey© Bruno Barbey 

All images courtesy of The Empty Quarter.


George Steinmetz - Empty Quarter aerial art exhibition 

Herd of camels cross the sandy gravels of the Empty Quarter on their way to graze near Wadi Mitan

Kashta Gallery a new gallery in the Jumeirah Emirates Towers is launching with its first exhibition by world renowned aerial landscape photographer George Steinmetz called The Empty Quarter.

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Top 10 events in Dubai in 2009

Didn't have a chance to share this earlier, but here is a list of my top 10 events in 2009 in Dubai (including one in Abu Dhabi). What was your favourite event in 2009?

1. Dubai International Film Festival: 9th-16th Dec 2009
This is the only week when cinephiles in Dubai are treated to regional and international movies and documentaries and I love losing myself watching movies during this festival and falling in love with some gems. Hands down it is my favourite week in Dubai and you can read my complete review here.

2. The opening of The Empty Quarter
Earlier this year saw the opening of The Empty Quarter, the only gallery in Dubai devoted exclusively to fine art photography. This made my day and I love the work they show. Here are two exhibitions that stood out for me.

Dubai Transmutatations: 20th Oct-28th Nov 2009
A very unique photographic project by French photographer Martin Becka captured Dubai using techniques that date back to the very beginnings of photography. The images of modern Dubai were captured with a wooden photographic tool of a very large format on negative waxed papers, using a process invented approximately 160 years ago by Gustave Le Gray. The photographs were then printed on albumin paper and toned with gold. It was fascinating seeing images of modern Dubai taken using ancient techniques.

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