Held in Warehouse421 in Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi, the Lest We Forget: Emirati Adornment: Tangible & Intangible exhibition first opened its doors on the 4th of February this year. This is the third edition of the exhibition, and features over 200 objects that were specially curated to help teach the public about the region’s history and culture.
Lest We Forget
Lest We Forget is a major grassroots arts community-based initiative that is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the UAE. They do this by using everything from workshops to their website to special exhibitions, the latest of which is the Emirati Adornment exhibition, and all of which encourage public participation whenever possible.
There are a number of displays at the exhibition that feature rare weaponry, which were donated by Dr. Ahmed Al Khoori, an Emirati antiques collector. One of the highlights of the weaponry displays are the exquisite daggers, which showcase a high level of craftsmanship and complex design details, with everything from gold and silver decorations to ivory handles. You will also see late 19th century Martini-Henry rifles, which bear marks that show that they were manufactured in London, while some of the swords on display contain blades that are believed to date back to Renaissance Europe.
Emirati Women Through the Generations
The Lest We Forget exhibition covers many areas of female life over the years, with one of the first highlights that you will see being a stop-motion animation by illustrator Amani Jamal Baswaid, which tells the story of a young bride from Buraimi. The installation by Noura Al Mansouri, titled Burqa Portrait of 50 Ladies, also provides a fascinating insight into the adornment that Middle Eastern women have worn over the years.
While items on display do give you a good idea of the way in which others have lived over the years, there is nothing quite like personal stories to really provide a deeper insight. These tell the tales of the lives of local men and women, and you are likely to read many stories that really inspire you.
Perfume and Fragrance
Perfumes and fragrances have always been a significant part of life in the UAE, and the section of the exhibition dedicated to this is truly an educational one. There are many boxes here containing different perfume-making materials, from oud to frankincense, as well as a small external courtyard with a display of native plants that were traditionally used to manufacture these scents.
Books on Display
In order to provide a deeper level of information on the many items on display throughout the exhibition, there are also several books on-site that are related to the topics being featured in the exhibition. With books on everything from women’s clothing to the pearl industry, these items are definitely worth browsing if you are seeking an even more rounded view on the subjects depicted in the exhibition.
The Lest We Forget exhibitions are aimed at sharing the region’s history with the general public, giving them a way to hear and feel the memories of others. From the fragrances that you can smell to the personal stories that will really resonate with you, these exhibitions are well worth visiting for those who are interested in the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi.