Egypt is going all out to promote tourism and show to the world the meaning and significance of Egypt’s January Revolution. It is launching a touring art exhibition organised by the Ministry of State for Antiquities Affairs (MSAA).
“This will be a very important exhibition,” says Zahi Hawass, minister of state for antiquities affairs. He says the exhibition will tell the true story of the struggle by the protesters to accomplish the revolution that began on 25 January. It will do so through displaying sculptures and drawings created by Egyptian artists as well as the logos and slogans used by the protesters in Tahrir Square. A photographic exhibition featuring scenes of what was taking place in the square over the weeks of the uprising and pictures of the demonstrators would also be part of the display, as well as photographs of those who died and have been hailed as martyrs of the cause of democracy.
The idea of a touring exhibition emerged during a brief meeting between Hawass and young leaders of the 25 January Revolution at the MSAA premises in Zamalek.
Mohamed Abdel-Fatah, director of the museums sector at the MSAA, told Al-Ahram Weekly that among the exhibition’s themes would be a number of replica statues featuring ancient Egyptian deities. This, he said, would help reflect some of the themes of the revolution. He mentioned especially a replica of a statue of the ancient Egyptian goddess of truth and justice; Maat, and added that peace and prosperity would be symbolised by Osiris, god of the afterlife.
Ahmed Kamel, director of the technical office of the museums sector and the organiser responsible for the exhibition, said that the exhibition would consist of three main sections. The first would display brochures and newsletters of Egyptian archaeological sites and tourist attractions in an attempt to promote tourism to Egypt. The second section would include art works carved and drawn by Egyptian artists and a photographic gallery of the 18-day revolution in Tahrir Square. The photographs, Kamel said, would also display the portraits of some of those who died in the revolution, as well as some of their personal belongings such as the banners and flags they were holding when they were killed.
The third section would contain the replica statues and a number of antiquities, as well as archaeology and history books including some published by the MSAA, a selection by prominent archaeologists and those of Hawass, who has offered his books free of charge for the exhibition.
Kamel said the exhibition would be financed in collaboration with the Red Sea governorate and four travel agencies.
The exhibition’s first venue will be the garden of the Manial Palace in Cairo, after which it will go on tour in Europe. Its final and permanent stop, Hawass said, would be the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) which is now under construction in the area of Fustat, adjacent to Old Cairo.
The NMEC’s plan for the new museum is to display the entire history of Egyptian civilisation from prehistoric to modern times. Hawass said that this exhibition relating the latest episode in the nation’s history would make it complete.