Art gallery resurrects age-old community

It can be hard for us to understand and relate to people; especially individuals who lived 4,000 years ago and over 8,000 miles away, to some they might as well be a completely different species.

The exhibit From Death to Life in Ancient Bahrain strives to narrow that gap and bring the Dilman people to life in the Sonoma State Library starting from Aug. 15 and ending on Oct. 13, 2013.

Upon entering the gallery it is apparent that the exhibit will be visually pleasing as well as informative. In order to familiarize the audience with the area, the exhibit begins with a timeline of important events in Bahrain from 2050 BC to 2002 BCE. After a general background is established audiences move on to the land of the living section of the gallery.

This section strives to provide displays that help bring the Dilman people to life. The first of these is a replication of a burial mound commonly found in the area.

Under the mound lies a life-sized skeleton and items that would commonly be found in the grave such as jewelry, metal weapons and ceramics.

All of the pottery found in the gallery was created for the exhibit by SSU art students. The archaeological finds presented were discovered by Peter B. Cornwell in the 1940s.

Perhaps the most moving pieces in the gallery are the facial reconstructions of two remains.

The exhibit explains the tedious and time consuming process of reconstructing a face with 3D technology and molding clay.

Although science is employed to create the face, much of it is still up to interpretation of the artist.

We cannot be sure how the people appeared during that time, so there is no right way to recreate the faces. Even with our advanced technology there is still no substitute for human creativity and imagination.

The purpose of the exhibit is to give insight into life in ancient Bahrain as well as demonstrate how science and art work together to understand ancient societies and the people who lived in them.

The reconstructed faces give the viewer the ability to connect with the Dilman people on a human level.

While looking at the facial reconstructions it is easy to imagine the people living and breathing just like us.

From completing daily household tasks to falling in love, the remains become real. After experiencing the exhibition it becomes apparent that these people were not much different than we are today.

β€œIt is very interesting to see technology and artistic talent used to create something that has been unseen for thousands of years. I feel like I traveled back in time,” said Jessica Grant, a student at SSU.

Although the exhibit is highly educational it is also touching and gives viewers a unique insight into the Dilman society. After traveling through the exhibit, audiences will have a much better understanding of the people as well as how scientists study them.

The display is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 

There will be a reception on Sept. 5 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and also a gallery talk on Sept. 18 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Do not miss this educational and entertaining experience.