This travelling photographic exhibition is the Australian National Maritime Museum’s first foray into the Middle East.

A fascinating photographic exhibition showcasing 50 photographs from the late 1930s when Australian journalist, novelist, sailor and adventurer Alan Villiers travelled to Arabia to photograph, film and write about what he believed were the last days of merchant sailing ships. Villiers captured the age-old Arabian sailing traditions, the great skills and hardship endured by the sailors, and Kuwait City before the discovery of oil which changed the face of Kuwait forever.

The exhibition highlights Villiers’s November 1938 voyage aboard the Sheikh Mansur from Aden, one of the busiest ports in the world, to bustling Jizan (Gizan) on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. His second voyage was on the Triumph of Righteousness

The Triumph of Righteousness lightly ballasted and high out of the water runs before a favourable breeze with mainsail & mizzen hoisted.  Alan Villiers. Collection: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
The Triumph of Righteousness lightly ballasted and high out of the water runs before a favourable breeze with mainsail & mizzen hoisted. Alan Villiers. Collection: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.  

From December 1938 to June 1939 Villiers sailed the monsoon winds from Aden to the Swahili coast and then home to Kuwait. 

Alan Villiers devoted his life to ships of sail and his decision to record Arab dhows before they disappeared has left us with a striking photographic record of the men and the vessels as well as life on the waterfront. He donated his photographic and film archive to the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London prior to his death in 1982, and his diaries are held by the National Library of Australia.

The exhibition coincides with Kuwait’s Annual Cultural Season and National Day on 25 February - marking the day in 1950 when Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah ascended to the throne.

This exhibition is travelling!

See this exhibition at: 
1 December 2019 - January 27 | Amricani Cultural Centre, Kuwait City
1 February 2020 - March 31 | Kuwait National Assembly

Image Gallery - click an image to open:

 

Presented by the Australian National Maritime Museum in conjunction with the Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait’s National Council for Art, Culture and Letters, and the Australian Embassy (Kuwait)

Supported by the Council for Australian Arab Relations in association with the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. 

Designed by Virginia Buckingham Graphic Design. Curated by Lindsey Shaw, Australian National Maritime Museum Research Associate.

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