Palestine From Cairo series: Un-silencing Palestine photo exhibition

Amira Noshokaty , Tuesday 28 Nov 2023

A rare photo collection of British Mandate-era Palestine in 1921 is currently on display at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo.

One of the photos of exhibition by Dutch photographer Frank Scholten


The Young Dutchman and His Camera’

Dubbed " The Young Dutchman and His Camera," by both Falestin and Haaretz newspapers, the collection of photos by Frank Schotlen (1881-1942) highlights a very important phase of Palestinian history, showing the impact of modernity on Palestinian society in the wake of World War I.

Among the most significant changes were the flourishing of cafes that served as cultural hubs, the modernization of school systems, and the importance of local newspapers, such as Falastine.

"Exporting agricultural produce and manufactured goods brought wealth to Palestine and with it the adoption of the new technologies, Jaffa's famous oranges were craned onto ships… " explains one sign at the exhibition.

Take me to Nabi Rubeen or divorce me!’

Schotlen's camera also captured Muslim religious festivals that resembled Egyptian Sufi Mulids or carnivals of faith.

The exhibition reveals that Palestinians held annual celebrations for each of the prophets: Moses, Rubin, Samwill (Samuel) and Al-Khedr.

"A tent city rose on the banks of the Rubeen River and the Mediterranean, near the tomb of Prophet Rubin, known as Palmachim. The festival was filled with entertainment, vendors, food, and amusement parks. A famous saying in Jaffa from women to their husbands was 'take me to Nabi Rubeen or divorce me', underscoring the social importance of Nabi Rubeen as a space to take a break each August," reads the sign.

The collection is a rare treat for the eye and soul. The exhibition is open till Thursday, 30 November. There is also an auction on reprints of the photos, and the revenues will go to support Palestinian charities.

Un-silencing Palestine photo exhibition

Open until Thursday, 30 November.

The exhibition can be viewed on weekdays by emailing [email protected] to book an appointment.

Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, 1, Dr Mahmoud Azmi Street Zamalek, Cairo

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