Egypt is no longer allowed to excavate the museum

Exhibition KMET at RMO. (Photo: Ed Hoogendoorn)

The Leiden National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) is no longer allowed to excavate at Saqqara, the famous necropolis near the Egyptian capital, Cairo. NRC has given this information. According to the Egyptian authorities, the museum is guilty of ‘falsifying history’ through an exhibition.

In the exhibition ‘KMET’. ‘Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul and Funk’, the museum explores the importance of ancient Egypt and Nubia in the work of African diaspora artists. It is primarily concerned with black artists from the United States being portrayed as Egyptian icons of the past. Visitors see Beyoncé and Rihanna as Queen Nefertiti, rapper Nas as Pharaoh Tutankhamun, and Eddie Murphy as Pharaoh Ramses.

Immediately following the inauguration in late April, a flood of negative and sometimes racist reactions poured in from Egypt via social media. RMO was accused of participating in the appropriation of Egyptian culture by black artists in the United States. That fiasco is now having sensitive consequences, as the RMO has been active at Saqqara every year since 1975, leading excavations there with partners.

Director Wim Wiesland is impressed with the decision of the Egyptian authorities, but also angered by the accusation of falsifying history. “It is indecent. This exhibition has been made very carefully. Scientists don’t blame each other like this. That’s why I want that qualification to be withdrawn.”


Culture Leiden Society

(tagstotranslate) Leiden local broadcaster radio news

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