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At Last, I Hold Your Gaze

[ 2018 - 20 ]



INTRODUCTION

The ancient Egyptian mummies have been extensively portrayed throughout history since the early inceptions of photography and cinema. To this day, they remain popular in visual culture. Certain ways of portraying them have been repeatedly followed like traditions, which resulted in disseminating and establishing stereotypes. At Last, I Hold Your Gaze takes the form of a photographic essay that sheds light on one such tradition; the recurring portrayal of Egyptian human remains as archaeological artefacts in photographs found in museum catalogues, archaeological journals, newspapers, and books.

The photographic essay comprises a selection of archival photographs exemplifying this kind of portrayal together with monologues written from the perspective of the depicted mummies. To reject the duplication of their undignified representation in the collected photographs, I cover their unwrapped remains first under linen by means of collage, then I re-bury them in sand. In the monologues, I imagine their voices commenting on their treatment as objects of scientific study, being unwrapped, catalogued, photographed, and displayed. In doing so, they get to hold and return the archaeological gaze arrested on them for so long.



READ MY MA THESIS:They Were Also Humans: On the Dehumanising Nature of Photographic and Filmic Portrayals of Egyptian Mummies”