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1,500 rare photos of 1860s hotels, first oil discoveries and more released in Abu Dhabi

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Have you heard of the eternal flame of Baba Gul Gul? Discovered in 1927, the famous oil field in Kirkuk, Iraq was at the time the largest oil field in the world. Did you know that the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum was used as a child welfare center as well as a military hospital during the First World War ? Is today’s Marriott Mina Palace a hunting lodge built in the 1860s?

Akkasah, the photographic archive of the al Mawrid Center for the Study of Arab Art at NYU Abu Dhabi, has published 12 digitized photobooks and prints. These albums contain more than 1,500 photographs, documenting the entire history of photography across borders and as a format. The photographs focus on historical and religious sites, including a trip through Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and India.

Particularly rare is a collection of photographs taken shortly after the discovery at the famous oil drilling site in Kirkuk, Iraq, showing the first oil injection in October 1927.

Another album documents the peaceful protests surrounding the 1951 Iranian oil crisis and a naturalist’s travels to Algeria in 1902.

The images were researched and cataloged by Collections Management Archivist Jasmine Soliman and NYUAD alumnus Emily Broad.

“The photographs, dated from the 1890s to the 1960s, show the incredible diversity of regional dress, customs, architecture, landscapes and everyday life,” Soliman said.

“Thanks to our flexible collection building model, we are able to develop such a diverse archive. In addition to acquiring photographs, we also work with individuals and families who wish to have their collections archived digitally and shared on akkasah.org, while preserving physical photographs .The more than 2,800 images currently online are the result of a “digitize and return” collaboration.”

Al Qassa houses a rich archive of photographic heritage in the Arab world and adjacent regions. Akkasah is part of al Mawrid, a center for the study of Arab art, dedicated to documenting and preserving the region’s diverse photographic history and practices, and its growing archive currently contains more than 35,000 images, including more than 12,900 online. The Archives is open to scholars, students and the public by appointment.

Copyright © 2022 Khaleej Times. all rights reserved. Courtesy of SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).

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