Arabian Sands – this is the title of Wilfred Thesiger’s account of his exploration of the Rub’ al Khali (the Empty Quarter encompassing parts of Saudi Arabia, Oman and the then Trucial States) between 1945 and 1950. This also happens to be when initial oil exploration first commenced in this part of the world.
In 1971 the Trucial States became the United Arab Emirates and in 1976 I was assigned my first overseas posting as a young surveyor working for BP to stake out the locations of future oil wells for the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Company. Within a few weeks of arrival I encountered this Bedouin family camped out not too far from one of the oil fields and experienced the hospitality that Thesiger describes in his account.
I undertook this pastel painting recently working from photos that I had taken back in 1976.
50cm x 70cm