Egypt punishes Leiden Museum for ‘Afrocentric’ exhibition

Exhibition ‘Kmet. Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul and Funk’ to open in late April

NOS News,

The National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden is no longer allowed to excavate at Saqqara, the famous burial ground near the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Egyptian authorities have angrily banned an exhibit that can be seen at the Leiden Museum, NRC reports.

exhibition Kemet. Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul and Funk Opened in late April. According to the museum, this is an exploration of “the importance of ancient Egypt and Nubia in the work of composers of the African diaspora”.

It is primarily concerned with black artists from the United States drawing Egyptian icons from the past. Visitors see Beyoncé and Rihanna as Queen Nefertiti, rapper Nas as Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and Eddie Murphy as Pharaoh Ramses.

Immediately after the opening, there was a flood of negative reactions from Egypt. Among other things, the RMO was accused of collaborating in the appropriation of Egyptian culture. And now there is an official email from the Antiquities Service in Egypt saying the museum is guilty of falsifying history because of the “Afrocentric” approach of the exhibits, writes the NRC.

to object

The museum, which has been conducting excavations at the Sakkara necropolis in collaboration with international partners for years, must now close. RMO director Wim Weijland is incensed by the accusations of falsification of history. “It is indecent,” he told NRC. “This exhibition has been made very carefully. As scientists you don’t accuse each other like that. So I want that qualification to be withdrawn.”

The RMO will formally object to the decision. Weijland also wants to talk to Egypt’s antiquities authorities. According to the museum, they rely on images that have been released from their context and no Egyptian official has yet visited the exhibition in Leiden.

Although museum director Wiejland would like to return to Sakra, he will not make excuses. “And we’re not even adjusting the exhibit. I’d be willing to add a sign with the Egyptian comment, but then someone would have to come and see it first.”

(tags to translate) Egypt

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