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  • BJHC

A Male Portrait // Closed exhibition

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Inside a small glass showcasea display, stands a male figure wearing trousers, a vest and a dark gray jacket, and a white button-down collar shirt. On the lapel of the jacket peeks a piece of white handkerchief, he is wearing a pocket watch. Next to it is a table with a pen and a picture which inspired the display.
An Iraqi Jewish Gentleman in a modern Western appearance, the source of the items from Iraq, from the period after the First World War.

Curator: Nava Mussaffi

The exhibition features a portrait of a Jewish man in Iraq dressed in modern Western attire, a trend that began to take root in the 1930's. The exhibition was inspired by portrait photographs that were taken in studios and visually documented the people in the pictures as well as their clothing.

The Western-style suit and the other artifacts that are on display reflect the gradual changes that occurred in the clothing and fashion preferences of Jewish Iraqi men. They can be attributed to the opening of Alliance in 1864, which was the first secular school for boys, and the resulting exposure of its students to new languages and the prevailing European zeitgeist. The establishment of travel routes between Iraq and the Far East and the advent of British rule in the country also contributed to these changes.


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