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Expedition Egypt

31.03.23 1.10.23

The exhibition Expedition Egypt brings together more than two hundred objects from its eminent Egyptian collection. Highlights include the sumptuously decorated coffins from the priestly cache of Deir el-Bahari, and the beautifully illustrated Book of the Dead of the dignitary Neferrenpet. In addition, a wide variety of stunning pieces from the collection will be shown to the public for the very first time. Objects like funerary stelae, canopic vases for the entrails of the deceased, and shabti figurines meant to accompany the dead in the afterlife, will introduce the visitors to the Egyptian world of the gods and eternal life. The exhibition will also be richly provided with unique historical photographic material.

Expedition Egypt narrates the story of two centuries of fascinating archaeological discoveries in the Land of the Pharaohs and the development of the Egyptian collection of the museum.

In the nineteenth century, Belgian diplomatic and industrial circles showed a lively interest in the history of Egypt, which occupied an important place in international politics and the global economy. The first Egyptian artifacts to join the museum were mainly royal and private donations. In the early decades of the twentieth century the ambitious and flamboyant Egyptologist Jean Capart played an invaluable role in the enlargement of the collection and the development of scientific research. Thanks to Capart's numerous initiatives, at a certain moment Brussels was considered the world capital of Egyptology. After almost two hundred years of profound interest in ancient Egypt, the Art & History Museum manages a superbly rich Egyptian collection that ranks among the top of European museums.

Sara Sallam

This journey through time will be punctuated by the artistic interventions of Sara Sallam (°1991, Cairo). The artist explores contemporary Egyptian cultural identity and questions the history and meaning of Egyptology. Nourished by childhood memories and archaeological and museum sources , Sara Sallam’s works offer a new look on the heritage of ancient Egypt.

Photo: Sara Sallam, Horus, digital photo collage from the Playing in Fields of Reeds series, Egypt, 2014-21. Private Collection

Sara Sallam, Horus, digital photo collage

The exhibition is the capstone of the research project Pyramids & Progress, Belgian Expansionism and the Making of Egyptology 1830-1952(EOS, FWO-FNRS) and of the project Sura, Unlocking the Photographic Archives of the Pioneering Years of Egyptology at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels (Belspo). It runs 101 years after the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb and coincides with the centenary of the Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth.

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