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Research material for UAE Pavilion unveils nostalgic imagery of Emirati national houses

Research material for UAE Pavilion unveils nostalgic imagery of Emirati national houses

Th2 2016 ‘Tranformations: The Emirati National House” exhibition, curated by Yasser Elsheshtawy for the UAE Pavilion at the Venice Biennale unveils a collection of archival images and commissioned photographs to illustrate the development of the national house in the Emirates.


Sha‘bīyaat Al Shorta in Dubai with the city’s famed skyline in the background. (Photo by Yasser Elsheshtawy).


Omar Al Saeed Rashed Al Meqbali, playing in his Al Maqam house. (Photo provided by Shaikha Al Meqbali).


Colorful doorways are a significant feature. Sha‘bīyaat Al Meryal, Al Ain. (Image by Yasser Elsheshtawy. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).

Included in the presentation are archival images, documents and videos such as photographs captured by the British Petroleum, and Dutch photographer Gerard Klijn and the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operators Ltd. (ADCO), as well as arhival newspaper clippings from Al Ittihad and other local publications.


One of the earliest prefabricated national house prototypes designed by German architects Braun & Saeckl (1974). Courtesy Juergen Monnerjahn. Courtesy Juergen Monnerjahn.


Traditional arish dwellings.
(Courtesy of British Petroleum Archive, University of Warwick).


National Housing in Madinat Zayed. (Image by Yasser Elsheshtawy. Courtesy National Pavilion UAE).

The exhibition also featured elevation drawings and diagrams as well as a case study of a single national house and the Emirati family who continue to live there. This section is accompanied by a specifically commissioned series of images by Emirati photographer Reem Falaknaz, who has traveled to these neighbourhoods to capture the human aspect of living communities.


Al Salamat neighborhood in Al Ain. (Image by Reem Falaknaz. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).


Image from the late 1960s in Abu Dhabi showing the final stages of constructing a sha‘bī house. (Courtesy of Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations – ADCO).


Boys play outside the Ali Ahmad Grocery in Al Defaa. (Image by Reem Falaknaz. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).


Abdullah Munif Al Jabri, who was cutting branches off his ghaf tree to take them to his farm animals. He has lived in the Al Salamat neighborhood for almost thirty years. . (Image by Reem Falaknaz. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).


A sofa placed under the shade of palm trees in Al Maqam. (Image by Reem Falaknaz. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).


Rawiya Al Suroor enters her house. (Image by Reem Falaknaz. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).


Inside Rawiya Al Suroor´s house. (Image by Reem Falaknaz. Courtesy of National Pavilion UAE).

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