An exhibition at a museum in the Netherlands that depicts Black American singers and other performers, including Beyonce and Rihanna, as the rulers of ancient Egypt has sparked outrage in the North African nation.
In response to the display at the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Egyptian officials have banned Dutch museum archaeologists from digging in Egypt’s Saqqara necropolis.
This is due to an exhibition hosted by the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, which upset Egyptian authorities.
The head of the Egyptian Antiquities Service said that the museum is blackwashing ancient Egyptian culture and falsifying history, citing the museum’s “Afrocentric” approach as the cause.
Saqqara is home to Egypt’s oldest pyramid, the pyramid of Djoser, and has been the site of many important discoveries. The museum has been conducting annual excavations there for over 40 years. However, the permit for its most recent excavation campaign was denied due to the “falsifying history” in the museum’s current exhibition.
The museum’s director, Pieter ter Keurs, stated that they were “trying to open the dialogue” with the Egyptian authorities. He also acknowledged that the Egyptians have every right to stop a dig, as it is their country and heritage.
The exhibition, called “Kemet: Egypt in Hip Hop, Jazz, Soul & Funk,” runs until September. It explores the old Egyptian name for the country, Kemet, which means “the black land.”
The exhibition features Black American musicians who have appropriated ancient Egyptian and Nubian ideas such as spirituality, pride, power, and dress. However, the exhibition has faced criticism on social media and in Egypt, particularly for a mask of Tutankhamun with the face of the American musician Nas.