Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures
On 14 May the exhibition “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures” was opened at the Museum of Natural History and Archeology in Trondheim. The exhibition has previously been shown in metropolises as New York, Washington, Paris, and London; from May until September Trondheim, Norway has the great honor to exhibit this magnificent collection of two hundred Afghan treasure objects that were thought lost or destroyed during years of war in Afghanistan.
An incredible span of 2000 years separates the oldest artifact from the newest in the exhibition, which includes ivory carvings, golden treasure and bronze statuettes.It was officially opened by the Afghan Minister of Culture and Information H.E Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen: "This exhibition is a celebration of Afghanistan as a crossroad for different expressions of culture", he said on the festive occasion. Dr. Raheen was accompanied by Director of the National Museum in Afghanistan Mr. Omar Khan Massoudi whose institution played a key role in preserving the treasures. The Minister expressed his gratitude to the employees of the National Museum who at great personal risk smuggled out the artifacts at the end of the 1980’s and hid them in chests in the vaults of the presidential palace. The secret was kept all through the civil war and the Taliban years; not before 2003 was the hiding place revealed.
Present at the opening were also Afghanistan’s ambassador to the Nordic countries, H.E Manizha Bakhtari, Principal of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Mr. Torbjørn Digernes, State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Gry Larsen, Director of the NTNU Vitenskapsmuseet Mr. Axel Christophersen and Major of Trondheim Ms. Rita Ottervik.
The Norwegian Government and the Norwegian Foreign Minister Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre have been among the initiators to bring the exhibition to Norway. In the exhibition catalogue the Foreign Minister states that he is confident that the exhibition will enrich the Norwegian public’s picture of Afghanistan. On behalf of the Government State Secretary Ms. Gry Larsen thanked the Afghan government and the National Museum in Afghanistan for choosing Trondheim and the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology as a venue for the exhibition: "The exhibition gives us a unique insight in the country’s rich culture and history, she said and added that she strongly encourages people to visit the exhibition".
In an interview with the Norwegian Broadcasting Company NRK Mr. Omar Khan Massoudi said the exhibition “Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures” shows the country’s true face: "News from Afghanistan is all about war and terror, but Afghanistan is a country with an advanced culture stretching thousands of years back".