Saddiq in the
Petrie Museum (Credit: Travis Elborough)
The Sudanese poet Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi will begin a residency at the Petrie Museum for Egyptian Archaeology at UCL, thanks to a partnership with the Poetry Translation Centre (PTC) and funding from Arts Council England.
The Petrie Museum houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world.
It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods to the Islamic period.
Saddiq will be working with objects from MeroŽ, situated between the Fifth and Sixth Cataracts on the eastern bank of the Nile in Sudan, near modern Kabushiya and Begrawiya.
It was the residence of Kushite royalty from the Sixth Century BC and was occupied for millennia.There are more standing pyramids in the area around MeroŽ than in Egypt.
The art and architecture of the Meroitic Kingdom was innovative. As with religious practice, they combined Egyptian traditions with a distinctly Nubian culture. MeroŽ was not excavated by Petrie but by the archaeologist John Garstang and the Petrie Museum’s collection of material from Sudan came from the Wellcome Collection.
Saddiq first visited the Museum when he came to the UK to participate in the PTC’s first World Poets’ Tour in 2005 and read his poetry again there in 2006 and in 2010. Saddiq’s poetry frequently reflects on ancient Sudanese cultures and he is very aware of the profound significance this unique heritage holds for his country.
During the residency, Saddiq will work closely with Professor Stephen Quirke, Curator of the collection and Professor of Egyptology at UCL.
Saddiq will produce a series of poems in response to the Sudanese collections which will later be translated and published. He will also take part in readings and events at other museums across the UK.