Al-Bdul: Bedouins of Petra

9 October 2013 until 23 March 2014

Fatima Salem Al Badoul (40). Photo: Andreas VoegelinFatima Salem Al Badoul (40). Photo: Andreas Voegelin
Inayma Kablan Al Badoul (47) with his son Kablan. Photo: Andreas VoegelinInayma Kablan Al Badoul (47) with his son Kablan. Photo: Andreas Voegelin
Dahia Gumah Faragh (27) with her children Hadja (3) and Mohamad (2). Photo: Andreas VoegelinDahia Gumah Faragh (27) with her children Hadja (3) and Mohamad (2). Photo: Andreas Voegelin

Al-Bdul: Bedouins of Petra is a small photo exhibition with portraits of Jordanian Bdul Bedouins. The photographs are on display in the Temple Hall, in the space behind the Egyptian Temple.

< Click on the photographs for enlarged versions. Click on the arrows to move between photos.

Andreas Voegelin, photographer

The Swiss photographer Andreas Voegelin (1954–2013) went to Jordan in 2012 to create a photographic portrait of Petra. There he encountered the Bedouin tribe known as the Bdul. He gained their trust and took a unique series of photographs about the men, women, and children in the village of Umm Sayhoun. The dominant themes in his work are not poverty and disempowerment, but the pride and perseverance of a Bedouin people who have always managed to adapt to their changing world.

Andreas Voegelin, who was affiliated with the Antikenmuseum in Basel, died unexpectedly in June 2013 at the age of 58. We are grateful to Andreas’s family for allowing us to use these photos in the exhibition.

The Bdul Bedouins

Until the 1980, Petra was home to a Jordanian Bedouin tribe, the Bdul. These Bedouins formerly led a semi-nomadic way of life, wandering with their tents in the summer and inhabiting the caves and grottoes of Petra in the winter. After more tourists began coming to Petra in the 1980s, the Bdul were relocated to the nearby, newly constructed village of Umm Sayhoun. A close-knit community of about 3,000 people now lives there. They are adapting their way of life to their new circumstances. Now that the Bdul have permanently settled, they are slowly but surely leaving their nomadic traditions behind them. Only a few of them still herd animals; most of the Bdul Bedouins work in the tourist industry around Petra as guides or souvenir sellers.

Photographs for sale

The photographs on display on the wall and in the museum café are for sale. More information is available at the museum shop.