Warsaw upgrades exhibit of saved Sudanese art

AP News
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Posted: Oct 16, 2014 11:08 AM
Warsaw upgrades exhibit of saved Sudanese art

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Warsaw's National Museum has added state-of-the art multimedia and installed new settings to enhance Europe's only exhibition of Christian-era wall paintings saved by the Poles from flooding in Sudan in the 1960s.

Thanks to a donation by philanthropist Wojciech Pawlowski, the museum was able to arrange the fragile, damaged wall paintings in settings reminiscent of the 8th-century cathedral that they had adorned.

The interior is also separately recreated, with the paintings on the walls, in a 3-D film. On touch screens, children can assemble puzzles, do quizzes and learn about the history of the paintings and of Poland's archaeology.

Dating back to between the 7th and 14th century, the enchanting ocher-colored images depict Mary and Jesus, angels, bishops and a wide-eyed St. Anna, asking for silence.

Buried deep in sand, the artworks were found in Faras, northern Sudan, by the team of archaeologist Kazimierz Michalowski in a UNESCO action to unearth and save Nile Valley art before the area was flooded by the Aswan Dam reservoir in the 1960s. In a daring plan, a mixture of wax was used to stick each of them to tissue to keep it together as the plaster on which they were painted was cut off the walls.

In agreement with the Sudanese government, some 67 of the 120 paintings were brought to Warsaw and have been exhibited since 1972.

The upgraded exhibition opens to the public on Saturday.

The other paintings are in Sudan's National Museum in Khartoum.