(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Published: Mon 10 Jul 2023, 4:52 PM
Have you heard about the eternal fire at Baba Gurgur? The famous oil field in Iraq's Kirkuk was known to be the largest one in the world at the time of its discovery in 1927. Did you know Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, the museum in present-day Mumbai, was used as a Children's Welfare Centre and a Military Hospital during the First World War? And that today's Marriott Mena House Hotel was built as a hunting lodge in the 1860s? The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in Mumbai (Bombay), originally named Prince of Wales Museum of Western India Exterior of the Mena House in Giza, Egypt, 1898. Currently, the luxury hotel is under the management of Marriott International A group portrait of men and children in front of an airplane in Iraq. (1936-1938) A man in the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque of Damascus, located in the old city of the capital of Syria A portrait dated 1966 in Damascus, Syria, from the album titled Sommerreise in den Nahen Osten (Summer Trip to the Near East) A street scene beside Jaffa Gate, including a photography studio and barbers, in Jerusalem, Palestine (1898) A woman weaving on a loom in Tunisia's Matmata, famous for its unusual housing structure, known as 'troglodyte'
Akkasah, the photography archive at NYU Abu Dhabi's al Mawrid Arab Centre for the Study of Art, has published 12 digitised photo albums and prints from its archival collections. The albums contain more than 1,500 photographs documenting histories across borders and throughout the existence of photography as a format. Photos are focused on historical and religious sites and take one on a trip through Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and India.
Particularly rare is an album of photographs taken at the famous oil drilling site in Kirkuk, Iraq, shortly after its discovery, showing the first gusher which occurred in October 1927. First oil gusher at Baba Gurgur, Kirkuk, Northern Iraq in 1927. At the time of its discovery, the oil field was known to be the largest one in the world
Another album documents peace protests surrounding the Iran oil crisis of 1951 and a naturalist's travelog of a trip to Algeria in 1902. Women and children march for peace during the Iran oil crisis. (1951) A naturalist's travelog of a trip to Constantin, in Algeria. (1902)
The images were researched and catalogued by Collections Management Archivist, Jasmine Soliman and NYUAD alumna, Emily Broad.
“The photographs date from the 1890s to the 1960s and feature incredible diversity of regional dress, customs, architecture, landscapes, and daily life,” Soliman said. The Kucuk Hasan Pasha Mosque, a former Ottoman mosque and exhibition hall in Crete, Greece. (1898) The Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania (Kubr-er-Rumia), a funerary monument, located in Tipaza, Algeria. (1912-1920)
“We've been able to develop such a diverse archive due to our flexible model of building collections. In addition to acquiring photographs, we work with individuals and families who want their collections to be digitally archived and shared on akkasah.org, whilst they retain the physical photographs. Over 2,800 of the images currently online are a result of 'digitise and return' collaborations.”
Akkasah is home to a thriving archive of the photographic heritage of the Arab world and the neighbouring regions. Part of al Mawrid, the Arab Centre for the Study of Art, Akkasah is dedicated to documenting and preserving the diverse histories and practices of photography from the region, and its growing archive contains at present more than 35,000 images, with over 12,900 currently online. The archive is open to scholars, students, and the general public by appointment.
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