Yoshio Kawashima

As a trained professional photographer, Kawashima prides himself being interested first and foremost in people, which is evident in his Dubai collection. One can almost feel the emotion of someone in a picture or hear what he is saying. These evocative images telling many stories of yesteryear bring the past closer to us making the contents relevant today half a century later.

The photographer encapsulated not only scenes of Dubai but more significantly the spirit of those forward-looking, dynamic, open-minded enterprising people who despite the hardship of pre-oil era life, believed in tomorrow and were striving for better future. This is perhaps one of the reasons why his photos resonate powerfully with many – whether those of the old generation who have witnessed the phenomenal transformation or those new to the emirate who are simply amazed by the stark changes.

This “Spirit of Dubai” as Kawashima calls, may also help explain some basis of the emirate’s incredible journey from an impoverished sheikhdom to the dazzling futuristic city within a matter of one generation. Amidst of all stands tall Sheikh Rashid, the driving force who initiated the modernisation even before the discovery of oil, laying foundation of the emirate’s prosperity. Without this extraordinary leader, Dubai’s transformation to today’s ultra-modern metropolis renowned for diversity, tolerance, peace and innovation would not have been possible. Kawashima, myself and the team at the Gallery would like to present this exhibition as a tribute to Sheikh Rashid, the Father of Modern Dubai and its past. Step back in time and enjoy Dubai 1962.

Kimi M. Akai
Dubai, March 2019