Aqeel the VHS Collector by Moath Bin Hafez
I recently watched a short film at the Dubai International Film Festival called Hayat min Sakhar (Life of Stone) by Moath Bin Hafez. I wanted to find out what else he's worked on and discovered this gem of an interview he directed for a show called Nawader for Dubai TV.
Aqeel Al Showab has taken it upon himself to record whatever he can that is related to the United Arab Emirates. His father was one of the early photographers from the United Arab Emirates who started working in Ras Al Khaimah and then moved to Dubai. I guess his photography genes passed on to his children because they too developed an interest in photogtraphy, but Aqeel had an instinct to do more.
He knew, even in the 1970s that he had to record his surroundings before they disappeared because things were changing in the city. He has been photographing, filming and even recording any UAE related shows from the television (sports, entertainment, news).
I had a bit of a nostalgia moment when I was watching this clip because I remember watching the show (The Three Degrees in Dubai) that appears in the 7th minute of the interview as a child on TV.
I'm so happy to find out there is someone like Aqeel in the country as it really has come down to individuals like Aqeel who are making a concerted effort to record and document for archiving purposes. Sadly, we lack a centralised organisation that should be responsible for this.
Aqeel now has a collection of 5000 video cassettes and I hope to get an opportunity to meet him in person as I'd love to get my hands on some of the old Dubai footage he has.