Nationality: Brazilian                                           Date of Birth: 12/07/1954.                                                   Place of Birth: Poxoréo, Mato Grosso, Brazil

Humberto da Silveira is a professional photographer with extensive experience and knowledge of the Middle East, where he has been living and working for the last sixteen years. After traveling in America, Africa, Asia and Europe (1973-1978), he studied photography with Roberto Maia in Rio de Janeiro and attended courses at Parson’s School in New York, between 1979 and 1981; he then worked as assistant to Barry McKinley (the prominent portraitist of politicians, artists and other American public figures) and worked as a professional photographer in Brazil, the U.S.A. and France (notably for French Vogue).

In 1985, the Ahuan Islamic Art Gallery, in London, invited Humberto da Silveira for the opening of the Islamic Gallery of The King Faisal Foundation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This experience was a defining moment in his professional life, leading him to visual history, his true passion. Thereafter, he embarked on a programme of extensive archaeological and ethnological research in the Middle East and in Saudi Arabia. This research resulted in his two first masterworks, Najd and Bedu.

Najd is a volume containing 148 photographs, illustrating Humberto da Silveira’s vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Neolithic, classical and 19th century traditional architecture, in the last years of its functional existence prior to modernisation. This architectural study symbolised for Humberto da Silveira the extraordinary, reciprocal dependence between the nomadic Bedu and the settled farming population of the Central Region of Najd.

Bedu, is the complementary sequel to Najd, and represents a proud record of the last true Bedouins of Arabia, the heirs to a nomadic way of life that had persisted in the region for many thousands of years, in the world’s harshest environment, and was now giving way, before his eyes, to the forces of modernisation.


·                     One man show at the INSTITUTE OF THE ARAB WORLD, Paris, September-November 1992.

·                     MUSEE DE L’ELYSEE, Lausanne, Switzerland, September-October 1994

·                     NATIONAL MUSEUM, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 2002

 Published Works:

·                     Najd 1992

·                     Bedu 1994

 Ready for Publishing:

·                     Nabatea – a classic photographic study (200 plates) of the Nabataean civilisation that flourished from the 4th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D., based on the cities of Petra (in modern Jordan) and Mada’in Saleh (in the Northern Province of modern Saudi Arabia,).

·                     Yemen – a tribute to Yemen. A vision of its Neolithic, Bronze and Classical Period with a study of the stone and mud traditional architecture and its people.

In preparation:

·                     Panorama of Ancient Civilisation in the Near, Middle East and Mediterranean Basin – Sumer to Byzantium (3 volumes).

Humberto da Silveira’s work has always been directed at a single objective; to compile photographic evidence of the highest quality, which can help in the preservation of those places and traditions that still speak to us of the ancient world, and so bear witness to the practical realities of mankind’s cultural development.

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