The Greek-Norwegian couple Alexandros Tsakos and Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos have worked in Sudan for several years. Take part in their adventures through a photo exhibition in Rethymno, Crete.
The two archaeologists will be present at the venue every day in order to introduce Nubia and Sudan to the visitors in a direct way.
The local press was present at the opening day. Read their article (in Greek)
Life along the Nile
Henriette and Alexandros have been living in Sudan for several years, working on many different archaeological projects. During this time, the Greek-Norwegian couple took a large number of photos. Many of these are presented in the exhibition "From Nubia to Sudan" at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies in Rethymno. The exhibition tells about the life along the Nile in the present and in the past.
The photographs show historical monuments, like pyramids and temples from the pre-historic and Christian times, churches from the Christian era, and the main features of Sudan’s Islamic architecture, like mosques and qubbas (funerary monuments). A special part of the exhibition is some unique photographs from the Fourth Nile Cataract that was flooded when the controversial Merowe Dam was inaugurated in 2009 and 173 kilometers of the Middle Nile Valley disappeared under water. Central focus is given in this second venue to the medieval and post-medieval sites and monuments from Sai Island in Northern Sudan where the Greek-Norwegian archaeological mission is running the Medieval Sai Project.
Photo: Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos and Alexandros Tsakos
Alexandros Tsakos relates: “The exhibition was first organized at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in Athens after a suggestion to the museum curators Mina Moraitou and Anna Balian by Irini Gonou, an artist who has seen our photographs as follower of our blog on the Medieval Sai Project
. It was Irini who arranged our first meeting with the curators of the museum.”
Henriette admits that they were first thinking about having a small exhibition, but after going through their photographic archive and having discussed with the museum curators, they realized that they were venturing into something much larger.
“The exhibition at Benaki consisted of more than 80 photographs, but the version that has travelled to Rethymno is smaller although covering the same themes” says Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos. There is also a new panel telling about our survey and excavations in Sudan (the Medieval Sai Project) that link the medieval period with the subsequent Ottoman occupation.”
The exhibition was well received in Athens, and other institutions – in Greece, Sudan, Egypt, and Norway – have expressed their interest in exhibiting the photographs. First out is the Institute of Mediterranean Studies in Rethymno.
The Institute for Mediterranean Studies, which has the study and presentation of the culture and history of Oriental and Mediterranean countries as its programmatic aim, was very happy to incorporate this exhibition in its activities, concerning the civilization of a remote hinterland on the borders between the Mediterranean and the African world.
Photo: Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos and Alexandros Tsakos About Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos and Alexandros Tsakos
Henriette Hafsaas-Tsakos studied archaeology and social anthropology at the University of Bergen. She completed her Master thesis about Bronze Age cattle herders in Lower Nubia in 2003. Henriette participated for two seasons in the Merowe Dam Archaeological Salvage Project (Sudan). She became a PhD researcher at the University of Bergen in late 2006, and has published a monograph and several articles on topics from Sudanese, Norwegian, and Palestinian archaeology.
Alexandros Tsakos studied history and archaeology at the University of Ioannina, Greece. Alexandros is currently a Ph.D. researcher at Humboldt University, Berlin. He has participated in several archaeological fieldworks in Sudan over the years. He has also been teacher at the Greek School of Khartoum and director of the Greek Cultural Center “Ergamenis”. He has worked extensively on the medieval collection stored in museums in Sudan, and in 2007-2008 he was contractor of UNESCO for the rehabilitation of the permanent exhibition of Medieval Antiquities in Sudan National Museum. He has published several articles on texts from Medieval Nubia.
Henriette met Alexandros in Sudan, and on March 1st 2008 they made vows of marriage under the Nubian sky. They now live together with their son in the Norwegian city of Bergen.
The exhibition at the Institute of Mediterranean Studies is sponsored by the institute itself, by the Norwegian Embassy in Athens and the Norwegian Institute at Athens, by the Greek branch of the Norwegian company Yara, by the Greek Embassy in Khartoum, and by the Organization for Greek-Norwegian Cooperation in the Fields of Culture and Humanities.