Scientists at the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden are no longer allowed by the Egyptian Antiquities Service to excavate at the famous Egyptian necropolis of Saqqara. Egyptians decided to boycott because they were angry about Kemet, Egypt’s exhibition of hip-hop, jazz, soul and funk in the past, director Wim Wijland confirmed after a report in the NRC.
The exhibition, which is currently on view, explores how artists of African descent have been inspired by Egyptian and Nubian culture over the years, from Miles Davis and Aretha Franklin to Beyoncé and Rihanna. The museum previously showed how the film world, operas and creators of comic strips deal with Egypt, but now suddenly the boat has turned. Egypt is accusing the museum of contributing to the usurpation of Egyptian culture by others and is even guilty of falsifying history.
Weisland especially wonders about the latter being “more than unpleasant”. “It is a musical, but a very careful and balanced exposition with a strong scientific point of view. It is presumptuous and indecent to speak of falsification of history, especially since it is done by other people with doctorates. None of the Egyptian The critic hasn’t gone to come and see the exhibition. The judgment is based on a few images, not the content of the exhibition.”
Weisland has no intention of changing the exhibit. He may want to consider adding a text that focuses on the Egyptian perspective on the subject.
In the meantime, he has agreed with the Museo Egizio in Turin to take charge of the investigation at Saccara at the end of this week. The famous Egyptian Museum in Italy collaborated with the RMO in Saqqara on the basis of a permit issued to the Netherlands. Weijland hopes that decades of research can continue thanks to the construction, though he fears that the three or four staff members banned from his museum may soon not be allowed entry. They are usually excavated at Saqqara in February and March.
The construction still has to be accepted by Egypt.