The Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities collaborate with DANAT, Bahrain’s Institute for Pearls and Gemstones, on the opening exhibition held at the Kingdom of Bahrain Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The exhibition introduces the world to the story of Bahrain in relation to the sea and its most sought after gem, the pearl. Pearls from Bahrain were recognized as the world’s finest, exceptional in their luster, color, size, and quantity.
The Kingdom of Bahrain Pavilion connects the Expo audience with Bahraini heritage, showcasing Bahrain’s transformation from a historic trading post to the dynamic center of culture it is today through the story of the pearl for its first theme, “The Sea.”
For the first time, DANAT relocates its world renowned lab for two months, inviting a global audience to experience Bahrain’s pearling legacy through the testing technology that differentiates between natural and cultured pearls. Visitors will have a chance to interact with the imagery and x-ray machines that reveal the inner structure of pearls and their origin.
“The most beautiful feature of Bahrain’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is the joint efforts exerted by different parties in order to promote our ancient cultural heritage,” stated Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.
“We are grateful for DANAT’s extraordinary presence at our national pavilion through the launch of the first exhibition in our programme for this global event.
“This reflects one of the most important features that distinguishes our society and culture, which is the close relationship we have with the sea that has formed our local culture and national identity.”
Her Excellency reaffirmed that the first impression this exhibition will create at the National Pavilion for the Kingdom of Bahrain will serve as an introduction for visitors from around the world to the story of the Kingdom in relation to the sea and its pearling legacy, spanning the Dilmun Era and encompassing the peak of the pearling economy in Bahrain highlighted in the registered UNESCO World Heritage Site, “Pearling Path ‘Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy.’”
Shaikha Mai also noted that the pavilion would provide all participants – public and private institutions and other partners – multiple opportunities to enhance Bahrain’s position across all levels.
Meanwhile, Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT), Board of Directors’ Chairman Yaser Alsharifi, praised the critical role played by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities in establishing Kingdom of Bahrain Pavilion at the Expo and highlighted its unique architectural design and rich cultural content.
He expressed DANAT’s enthusiasm at taking part in the pavilion, which bears the slogan “Density Weaves Opportunities”, and highlights Bahrain’s pioneering reputation that it has consolidated over thousands of years while shining a light on Bahraini pearls – one of the Kingdom’s main pillars.
“We at DANAT have made all the necessary preparations to take on our great national responsibility in representing the Kingdom of Bahrain to the world through Expo,” said Mr Alsharifi on the occasion.
“We will work in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities – and the rest of the exhibiting partners within the pavilion – to present the bright and honourable image that the world knows about our beloved Kingdom, especially its historical and current distinction in the field of extracting and trading natural pearls.
“Our national participation in the the Kingdom of Bahrain Pavilion also represents an unprecedented opportunity for us to promote DANAT as the world’s preferred laboratory in the field of pearl testing, generate more business opportunities, and build stronger partnerships and networks while also enhancing our leadership in the international arena.”
The Sea theme reflects Bahrain’s rich maritime culture and includes a large-scale collaborative installation “What She Sees” by Bahrain-based designer Mhairie Boyle in collaboration with the weavers of Bani Jamrah, as well as 6 weaver apprentices. The installation refers to the sailing heritage of Bahrain through a series of 30 sails that are spread between the columns of the pavilion, revealing the hidden geometry of the space. The sails are woven by hand in one of the oldest weaving centers in the Gulf and naturally dyed with different components of the sea and coastal areas, from different kinds of seaweed, to palms and dates, revealing the natural composition of the coastal landscapes of Bahrain.
The exhibition tells the history of the Kingdom through ever-evolving traditional crafts while conveying the story of experimentation in the field in addition to cooperation with artisan weavers. The soft colors of the woven panels reference the sails of the banoosh pearling dhows to create a contrast against the contemporary architecture of the pavilion.
Through its national participation Kingdom of Bahrain Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai along with the Bahrain Institute for Pearls and Gemstones (DANAT) will provide visitors with a unique opportunity to understand DANAT’s services in an interactive and innovative way.
Visitors will have the chance to work on the latest laboratory pearl testing equipment used by the institute such as a high-quality laboratory X-ray microradiography in addition to a variety of natural pearls for testing, which have been transported from Bahrain to the pavilion at the Expo.
Four years after it was founded, DANAT has become the world’s preferred laboratory in pearl testing services, in addition to other gemstones such as diamonds and coral. The institute also organises a number of the most prominent training courses in the field, in partnership with reputable and elite education and training service providers from around the world, while also offering professional certificates that are exclusive to DANAT in the Middle East region.
DANAT is leading Bahrain’s pearl strategy to increase access and trust in natural pearls.