Kurdistan in the 1940s

The Project Space
19 Nov 2021 – 30 May 2022

20th Century British photographer Anthony Kersting, the most prolific and widely travelled architectural photographer of his generation, is the subject of the inaugural display in the new Project Space until March 2022 – a new gallery dedicated to spotlighting temporary projects that give visitors special insight into The Courtauld’s broader collection, conservation and research.

Born in South London in 1916, Kersting travelled extensively across the Middle East throughout the 1940s and 50s to document the architecture and people of the region. His archive of over 42,000 photographic prints and negatives were given to the Conway Library at The Courtauld upon his death in 2008. The exhibition in the Project Space features 21 compelling photographs from the collection documenting the life of the Yazidi community in Kurdistan, taken by Kersting in 1944 and 1946. The exhibition also includes portraits and city photography of Erbil, often considered the oldest continually inhabited place on earth, and the Mosque at Nebi Yunus, the burial place of Jonah destroyed by Isis in 2014.

The 1.1 million photographs in the Conway Library – most of which have never been seen by the public – are currently undergoing a major volunteer-led digitisation project – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund – which will put these images, including Kersting’s, into the public domain.

This display is included in the admission ticket to The Courtauld Gallery.

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