The Beginnings of a Nation by Anita Van der Krol at The Empty Quarter

The Beginnings of a Nation is the latest exhibition at The Empty Quarter featuring photographs by Anita Van der Krol of Dubai in the late 1970s, a few years after the formation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. "It was a period of transition from nomadic life to the first communities of this newly founded nation," states Van Der Krol.

In 1975, the wife of a Dutch dredging engineer, Anita Van der Krol was in a unique position to shoot intimate pictures of the first nomads to settle in this land. Living as an expat in Jumeirah, she became one of the first inhabitants of Jebel Ali Village. 

Rather naively, Van Der Krol ventured out to the villages, souks and sandy desert, with two small children in tow and managed to win the confidence and respect of the hundreds of people she met while photographing their way of life. “Some of them had never had a photo of themselves before. They were delighted and you can see that in the photographs,” states Van der Krol.

The Bedouin images from the desert must have been among the last taken, before this entire population gave up their nomadic existence and settled down to form towns and villages.

Van der Krol’s insightful photographs have rapidly become part of the heritage of this young country and a source of national pride.  

The exhibition is on till Wednesday, 31st December 2014. Here are some photos from the exhibition. 

Event details

Date: On till Wednesday, 31st December 2014. Sunday - Thursday 10.00 am - 8.00 pm. 

Venue: The Empty Quarter, Gate Village, Bldg 02, DIFC, Dubai

Free entry.