Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023 | Rajab 12, 1444
Published: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 6:00 AM
Last updated: Wed 1 Feb 2023, 1:58 PM
Have you wondered what Dubai looked like in the 1960s? A new photo exhibition in the city captures the daily life in the emirate in 1962 — before the emergence of oil.
From students being transported to school in pickup trucks to shops displaying jewellery in a simple box, Dubai has indeed come a long way.
One of the photos displayed at the exhibition shows ‘areesh’ houses, made of palm tree fronds, which, according to the caption of the image, were “common dwellings” at the time:
Today, Dubai has a manmade island shaped like the palm tree! The photograph above also shows American-made Dodge and Chevrolet cars parked on a sandy road.
The photo is part of 25 taken by Yoshio Kawashima, a Japanese photojournalist from the Sankei Shimbun Newspaper, during his visit to the Middle East, accompanied by his colleague, Hiroshi Kato.
Fresh water was a luxury back then. The photo below captures the “happy faces” of people on getting their fill:
The photo exhibition, titled ‘Dubai in the Year 1962’, highlights the population around Al Fahidi Fort — which today houses the Dubai Museum — as well as the creek banks, and the vitality of trade in the popular markets.
The photo below shows people crossing the creek in an abra towards Bur Dubai — a mode of transport that has survived the test of time:
Seen in the photo is a skyline dominated by wind towers — a traditional architectural structure.
Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), in cooperation with the Consulate General of Japan in Dubai, is organising the exhibition at Al Safa Art and Design Library till March 17. It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Japan.
The collection of black and white photographs showcases Dubai’s heritage and the strong relationship that brought together the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and the people of Dubai, and his daily meetings with them at his majilis. The caption of this photo calls the then Dubai ruler a man of true wisdom and vision:
In the two photos below, a jewellery shop is seen displaying a portrait of the late Sheikh Rashid; and another using a simple box to showcase jewels:
Hala Badri, director-general of the Dubai Culture, said the exhibition provides a special insight into Dubai’s history, heritage, and the customs and traditions of its society. It includes a collection of “exceptional photographs documenting various scenes in the emirate”, she added.
The photo below shows brothers going to play near a mosque:
Kawashima’s photos reemerged in 2008, when one of them was gifted to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Supreme President and CEO of Emirates Airlines and Group.
The photo below shows the plane carrying Kawashima that arrived in the Trucial States at Sharjah’s RAF airport:
Hala Badri stressed that the exhibition demonstrates the creativity of the Japanese photographer, Kawashima, and the realism of his images.
These two photos capture schooling back then. The first photo shows students commuting in a pickup truck, “one of the few modes of public transportation available at the time”. The second is of a classroom in Al Shaab School in Al Shindhagha.
According to the caption of the photo below, falconers proudly taking their prized birds in the souk and around town were a common sight in the 1960s:
In the photo below, a shopkeeper is seen sitting on his wares:
This scene is out of a souk; a man happy with his fish shopping, another walking proud with his falcon, and a tailor at work:
The Dubai Culture said the exhibition is a “testament to the prosperity and strength of diplomatic and trade relations between Dubai and Japan”.
Hala Badri added: “Such exhibitions represent important platforms through which we look at the achievements of talent that work to explore aspects of human creativity. (In his photos), Kawashima documents important moments of Dubai’s history.”
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