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.


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.

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.

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.


All images courtesy of The Empty Quarter.