Earliest photo of Makkah on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

The earliest image of Makkah by Sadiq Bey in 1881. (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris)
Updated 01 April 2019
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Earliest photo of Makkah on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

  • The exhibition will be open from April 25 till July 13
  • It will feature images of the world from the time period between 1842 - 1896

DUBAI: A photograph of Makkah, shot by Muhammad Sadiq Bey in 1881, will be displayed in Louvre Abu Dhabi’s first photography exhibition starting April 25, one of the earliest images taken in Saudi Arabia.

Photographs 1842 – 1896: An Early Album of the World will be open for visitors until July 13. It is the second international exhibition the museum will host this year.

(musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac)

The museum will display some of the earliest 250 photographs of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas, taken between 1842 and 1896, including some of the oldest photographs of Saudi Arabia and Yemen by Auguste Barthold.

Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi, said the exhibition aims to “showcase part of our inspiring human heritage.”

“Photography is one of the most important tools that has contributed to documenting the history of the world and its diverse cultures,” he added.

(musee du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac)

The exhibition is organized by Louvre Abu Dhabi in collaboration with musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and Agence France-Muséums, and is sponsored by the Bank of Sharjah.

Most of the images come from musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac’s collection, with some images from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet, Musée d’Orsay, la Société de Géographie and La Cité de la Céramique – Sèvres & Limoges.

The museum will feature works by renowned photographers, such as Luis Garcia Hevia from Colombia, the Abdullah brothers and Pascal Sebah from Turkey, Lala Deen Dayal from India, Marc Ferrez from Brazil, Lai Fong from China, Kassian Cephas from Indonesia, Alexandre Michon and Nikolai Charushin from Russia, Francis Chit from Thailand, and Ichida Sôta and Suzuki Shin'ichi II from Japan.

(musee du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac)

The exhibition will be accompanied by a number of educational and cultural activities related to photography, such as workshops, film screenings, a conference and a cine-concert.

The cine-concert, In the Land of the Head Hunters, is a musical interpretation of a Native American version of Rome and Juliet silent movie by French musician Rodolphe Burger.

Visitors can enjoy a multimedia tour of the exhibition in Arabic, English and French.


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.