Last month I wrote about a recent trip to London to visit two exhibitions and how I had been reflecting on them during my Lockdown time. Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery, SW3 was stunningly curated with dramatic lighting and atmospheric sound track to help transport you deep within the thick walls of the tomb as Howard Carter unearthed the famous treasures. It was a really inspiring exhibition and one that has clearly influenced some of my recent projects.
Anyone who knows me even a little will know that I am really interested in anything to do with Ancient Egypt and have been since I was just a child. In previous blogs I have admitted that my earliest career choice was to be an archaeologist and two of my final projects for my Theatre Design degree were Egyptian themed so it is fair to say that it is a passion that I regularly return to!
The most dramatic and lasting impression that I was left with after the exhibition was the staggering quality of craftsmanship – not just in the gold and jewellery, which was naturally breath taking, but also in the funerary objects and equipment that would be needed by the Pharaoh in the afterlife. My appreciation of the skill and techniques is highlighted when I bear in mind that the artists of this ancient civilisation were making these objects at the same time that Stonehenge was being built. When I think about the sophisticated tools that we artists and craftspeople use now to create our work and then consider what was available to the ancient craftsmen I am all the more in awe. The stylised and figurative wood and stone carving, precious stone inlaid jewellery and hieroglyph charms and everyday objects covered in fine gold leaf created more than 3000 years were all just exquisite.
Working independently on commissions and very focused projects can be quite solitary and so ordinarily, I would try to get out and about to visit exhibitions and museums regularly to keep inspired and just to enjoy learning about new things. I always return to the workshop with renewed energy and enthusiasm and I am really so glad that I got to see this exhibition particularly as due to the Coronavirus Lockdown, the exhibition had to close to the public before its final date. It seems extremely unlikely that it will be extended as the artefacts now need to be returned to the Cairo museum. With this in mind, I have included photographs of some of my favourite artefacts from the exhibition which I hope you will find as breath taking as I did.
I have really appreciated that during the Lockdown many other museums and galleries across the world have been sharing exhibits via social media and I have certainly enjoyed finding out about new collections and venues which I will hope to be able to visit in the not too distant future. If you have any recommendations for me, do please let me know.