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Collecting pre-oil Kuwait – ‘Inspired by classic items, local collector shares sneak peak of private collection’

By Ben Garcia

Ali Abdullatif Al-Kandari’s house in Khaitan has become a virtual museum, with a huge assortment of antiques and artifacts which he has collected from various sources all over Kuwait. Some are from the pre-oil era, a reminder of the humble beginnings of the Kuwaiti people. Kandari told Kuwait Times he was inspired by his uncle, who had a large collection of old household items which he got from his friends and Souq Mubarakiya.

“At first, I was inspired by my uncle’s collections. I remember helping him out in cleaning his objects. I told myself it probably would be satisfying if I could have my own collection too,” Kandari recalled. “So little by little, I collected old things, many from the pre-oil era. I widened my search for old household items by contacting friends and relatives and visiting the Friday Market, from where I got a lot of antiques and artifacts. I then created my own little museum,” he said.

Kandari hopes the next generation of Kuwaitis will see his collections, which should be preserved. “It’s good to reminisce about the old days, especially our lives as Kuwaitis in the pre-oil era,” he said. “For me, anything old has value; it is a symbol of resilience which reminds us to be humble at all time.”

Visitors can see old paper bills, stamps, gaming instruments, water containers, old transistor radios, old black and white TVs, old telephones, old weighing scales, collection of miniature cars, stone rice mills, kettles, old soda bottles, old gas ranges, old car plate numbers, old letters, old VCRs, old books, marble toys, baskets made of bamboo and iron and much more.

His house in block 10 in Khaitan is known to many as Al-Kandari Antiques, and has been featured in several TV and radio shows. The house is open to visitors. Contact: 97922898.

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