Photos depicting 50 years of change in Dubai make up the current exhibition by a father and son at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
From Dunes to Dollars – Dubai’s Xtraordinary Journey is a pictorial odyssey from 1965 to 2015 by Chilliwack’s Michael Hamilton-Clark and son Steve Hamilton-Clark.
The show is at the O’Connor Group Art Gallery in the Chilliwack Cultural Centre from Sept. 22 to Oct. 29.
Michael and Steve have worked and lived in Dubai for decades. Michael worked there from 1965 to 1971 and again from 1981 to 1991, while Steve worked there between 1994 and 2015.
During this overall 50-year period, Dubai changed from an almost unknown community of 40,000 living in mostly coral-block and palm-frond buildings to a metropolis of now some 2.9 million people.
Dubai is now “full of crazy superlatives such as the Burj al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel, the Burj Khalifa the world’s tallest building at 924 metres, (and) the Palm Island, a man-made island that can be seen from space,” the Hamilton-Clarks mentioned in a press release.
“We feel that sharing a collection of our photographs, paintings and accompanying stories and anecdotes is the best way to bring alive the many exciting changes we witnessed in Dubai over 50 years,” Michael said.
From the early 1800s Dubai was part of a British protectorate of seven sheikhdoms called the Trucial States. The role of the British presence in the area was to put a stop to the piracy that was causing problems in the Indian Ocean and with Britain’s colonial presence in India.
Michael, now a retired civil engineer, arrived in Dubai in 1965. That first stay lasted until 1971. Those years saw the end of the protectorate status and the formation of today’s United Arab Emirates along with the beginning of Dubai’s real development using the revenues from commercial quantities of oil discovered in 1966.
Michael witnessed the start of the development in Dubai when the oil revenue kicked in and Steve was there during the stellar expansion in the late 1990s and on into the new century.
“Both of us enjoy photography and were able to capture various aspects of just on 50 years of ever-increasing development,” Michael said. “We hope you will enjoy this exhibition illustrating Dubai’s odyssey which brought it from a relatively obscure sheikhdom in the Arabian Gulf to its position as a major player on to-day’s global scene.
“While we may not return to Dubai, it is said that once you have had the sands of Arabia between your toes, they stay with you forever, as will our memories of amazing change.”
From Dunes to Dollars – Dubai’s Xtraordinary Journey is at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre from Sept. 22 to Oct. 29. There is an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
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