Reimagining Tutankhamun 100 years on with new display at the British Museum
To mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in November 1922, the British Museum will open a new, free display looking at the many ways this ancient Egyptian king was viewed, in his own time and in the modern era.
The Asahi Shimbun Display Tutankhamun Reimagined will feature artwork by contemporary Egyptian graffiti artist Ahmed Nofal alongside a statue of Tutankhamun (EA 75) which was discovered before his tomb was even found. While Tutankhamun's nine-year reign left a limited impact on ancient Egyptian history, the discovery of his almost intact tomb in 1922 transformed him into one of the most famous pharaohs.
One hundred years later, Tutankhamun has become a household name and a powerful symbol of Egyptian identity. To mark the centenary, the British Museum is working with Ahmed Nofal (b. 1996), an Egyptian graffiti artist who is best known for their vivid street murals in Cairo influenced by ancient Egyptian art. The exhibition has been curated in partnership with Heba Khairy from the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, Egypt.
Accompanying the display will be a trail highlighting objects in Room 4, relating to Tutankhamun, allowing visitors to engage with ancient Egypt and the late pharaoh in new ways. Starting in the Asahi Shimbun Display Tutankhamun Reimagined, visitors will make their way through to the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (room 4) to discover more about Tutankhamun's reign and legacy.
Ahmed Nofal, known as Nofal O, artist, said: "I started practicing graffiti or street art influenced by hip hop culture in 2009. I went deeper into this culture and found that this type of art is what best represents me. I was influenced by Tutankhamun's precious treasures ... I was keen to link the stories of the past with my artwork. King Tut is an icon and an inspiration for my graffiti in Cairo."
Marie Vandenbeusch, Egypt and Sudan Department, British Museum, said: "The centenary of the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the perceptions on one of the most famous ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Tutankhamun's image still resonates today and this display aims to create a dialogue between Pharaonic past and modern Egypt.
Heba Khairy, Exhibition Coordinator, Grand Egyptian Museum, said: "Every time I walk in Egyptian streets and see Tutankhamun's mask decorating the facades of shops, buildings or walls, I am amazed at how this young king and his treasures have become a national symbol of Egypt today."
The Asahi Shimbun Display Tutankhamun Reimagined will be on display, for free,
in Room 3 from the 1 December 2022 - 29 January 2023.