I’ve been watching the latest events in Egypt unfold with increasing concern. Of course concern for the people I met whilst in Egypt and for others caught up in the escalating trouble. Having seen at first hand the gulf between rich and poor and experienced corruption on a daily basis, I can quite see that people were ready to rebel.
My concern has also been for the treasures that the country holds, and since this is an art blog I’d better stick to that subject.
At first I was relieved to read that the army has secured the Egyptian museum to prevent looting. Now I understand that thieves were able to break in; two mummies (possibly Yuya and Tjuya, great-grandparents to Tutankhamun) and several statues have been destroyed.
I have no doubt that both the government and the protesters have much to occupy them at this time, but I truly hope that both may act in favour of their country’s heritage. The Egyptian people are custodians of their country’s culture for the rest of the world.
Much of Egypt’s ancient art is jaw-dropping in its splendour. We use the word “awesome” so easily, but the craftsmanship, quality and design of the art really does inspire awe in the viewer.
Destruction of such work is not just a criminal act, it is a crime against history, humanity and culture on a global scale.