An exhibition of photography brought to Egypt by Dr Anne-Marie Willis in partnership with the Australian Embassy and the Arab Association of Civilization and Islamic Arts
On November 17, 1869 the Suez Canal was opened to navigation in a lavish ceremony that used up over a million US Dollars. Following the opening, Egypt became a stop for travelers from the West to the East. And during the First World War, many soldiers would pass through the Suez going to fight in Europe and other places. Among the soldiers would be Australians from down south.
A hundred years
after the war, Anne-Marie
Willis, who lived in Egypt for several years and recently returned to
Australia, has found some extraordinary photos of Egypt from the National
Library of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and other public collections.
What could these photos tell?
Naturally, the photos speak a lot about the war and brave
Australian soldiers. Yet, they could also tell different stories altogether.
An exhibition curated by Anne-Marie Willis, “shows places that have become
invisible as Cairo has grown, such as the Delta Barrage Bridges or Baron Empain
Palace surrounded by sand dunes.”
Other photos show the effects of the First World War on
Egypt, with a vast military camp in front of the pyramids, and thousands of
Egyptian men recruited to support the British war effort. And then there are
the tranquil scenes recorded by an Australian nurse, that tell a story which is
not at all tranquil.
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