ARKHEO Exhibition, 30 years of French Archeology in Bahrain
Moharagh, Bahrain 2007-2008
Exhibition Design and Installation
This award-winning design was commissioned by the French embassy at Manama, Bahrain by the Bahrain Ministry of Culture to pay tribute to the Bahrainis and French who worked together during the last 30 years. The French Embassy, in collaboration with the Bahraini French Cultural Centre, organized this exhibition about the French excavations.
The ARKHEO exhibition was housed at the Bahraini-French Cultural Centre, la maison Jamsheer, which was an old traditional house built in the 19th Century in the Muharraq area. The exhibition included a range of photographs from the last 30 years showing the changing landscape of Qalat Al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as artifacts from National Museum, publications, and a documentary on the work of the archeological teams.
The concept for the project was based on an idea from French Ambassador, Malika Berak, showing the evolution of the landscape of the country over the last 30 years. As for the French Embassy, the concept was to reveal the endangered beauty of Bahrain nature together with the ancient history of the island through the pictures on display. At the same time, it was important to keep the beauty of the old Bahraini Jamsheer house intact.
The greatest challenge was to create free standing elements and plastic wires to hang the artifacts and posters, avoiding nails or screws that would damage the heritage house. All display elements used for exhibiting pictures and objects were movable elements that did not require attachment to walls or floors.
White curved movable partitions and movable display boxes were used to integrate the white gypsum appearance of interior of the historic house. Large banners with pictures of the Bahraini landscape (palm trees and sea) were installed in the central patio to impress visitors with the richness of Bahrain history and nature. The banners were made of a special transparent mesh fabric, printed on both sides.
The lighting design was planned to set a beautiful scene. The scenography showstopper was on the terrace of the first floor, showing pictures of Qalat Al Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) since 1977. The exhibition area has since become the venue for French embassy cultural events including archeological seminars and conferences.