UAE | Heritage and Culture

A brief history of the UAE in an object

One gallery has taken the initiative of collecting a brief history of the UAE: through 100 objects.

  • By Alice Johnson, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 September 18, 2010
  • Gulf News

Stamp of approval
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Sven Muller's entry is a company stamp. He arrived in the country in 2006.
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Dubai: If you could choose one object you own that represents history in the UAE, what would it be? Perhaps a present a former employer bought you, perhaps a trinket you found on a trip to the east coast.

One gallery has taken the initiative of collecting a brief history of the UAE: through 100 objects.

Museum ME, to be held at the JamJar from October 14-21, will provide a "snap shot" of the UAE and "the shared experiences of its community".

The objects will be selected and presented in three different categories: history, domesticity and art.The idea of the exhibition is to engage Dubai, to "get the public to have a relationship with museums, give a wider idea of what the community is and give a voice to all sections of Dubai's community," Sonia Brewin, curator, told Gulf News.

Contemporary theme

After a breakfast discussion, the idea of Museum ME was born, with a definitive contemporary theme — and it was decided that the public should submit the museum collection.

One of the first submissions is a jar of honey, given to a loyal taxi passenger by her driver.

The Pakistani driver had to leave the UAE recently to look after his family after the devastating floods that hit his home country.

He gave the honey as a present to his passenger as she had been using his service for three years.

The "poignant" tale, Brewin said, "tells the story of an average taxi driver. It's about narratives," she continued, "a museum tells stories".

The JamJar has defined the project's goal as placing "…sentimental tokens on the same level as historical artifact, weaving together the personal fragments into a cumulative patchwork tapestry of the UAE's identity".

Brewin herself is entering a piece — a bowl that was a special gift from the first Emirati wedding she attended. Dubai resident Sven Muller submitted a company stamp. He arrived in the emirate in 2006 and decided to set up his own business.

"The ‘company stamp' symbolises entrepreneurship in the UAE like nowhere else," his submission reads.

"It's inspiring that so many people from abroad are able to come here and embody the young spirit of a country that thrives on fresh ideas."

Open to everybody, Museum ME is trying to reach members of the community that might perhaps not typically visit museums or art galleries.

"It can be any kind of object, as long as it tells a story," Brewin said.

How to submit an entry

1. Take a photo of the object to be submitted and send the jpeg to museumuae@thejamjardubai.com

2.Send a description of the object, including its importance, to the UAE in no more than 150 words

3. Include its measurements in centimetres: height x width x depth

4. Estimate its age

5. Deadline for entries is October 1, 2010

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