July 10, 2000
Volume 52, No. 37
Carlos walks like an Egyptian this summer
By Michael Terrazas
The drought of 2000 may not have turned Georgia into a desert yet, but folks at Emory can pretend with some help from the Carlos Museum's summer of "Egypto-mania."
Since early June, the Carlos has been hosting events that capitalize on the modest Egyptian revival taking place around the United States-not to mention the museum's 1998 acquisition of some very venerated Egyptian expatriates-under the banner "Mummies and More: The Lure of Egypt."
"I was reading newspapers and noticing that all over the country, there is this Egypto-mania craze," said Elizabeth Hornor, coordinator of educational programs at the Carlos. "So I thought, 'Wouldn't it be fun to do a summer of programs that look back at Egyptomania throughout history?' Because Egyptian culture has always held this fascination, so that's where the idea came from."
Running through Sept. 24 is an exhibition of photographs from the museum's permanent collection called "Souvenirs of the Nile: 19th Century Photo-graphs of Egypt." Mounted in the Works on Paper Gallery, the photographs were produced by Egyptian firms to provide picturesque mementoes of ancient monuments for Victorian-era tourists. These particular photos were collected by Maria Tamsin Hersey while on tour in the 1890s.
"Beginning with its rediscovery in the age of Napoleon, Egypt has held a great fascination for the West. Images of Egypt-disseminated first in drawings and prints, and later in the newly invented photography-spurred curiosity and inspired more and more travelers to visit the exotic sites themselves," said Margaret Shufeldt, assistant curator for works on paper. "As the techniques of photography became less cumbersome over time and pictures more easily mass-produced, photographic firms were established in places such as Cairo and Luxor that specifically catered to the growing number of tourists."
Tonight at 7 p.m. in the museum's reception hall, Georgia Tech architecture professor Elizabeth Dowling will deliver a lecture on "Stylistic Multiculturalism: A Study of the Meaning of Egyptian Imagery in American Architecture." Dowling will trace the Egyptian influence from the earliest incorporation of funerary themes into cemetery and memorial design to the cultural encroachment into entertainment architecture, including 1920s movie palaces such as Atlanta's own Fox Theater.
On Monday, July 17, Shufeldt will give a talk titled "A Thousand Miles Along the Nile: Women Travelers in the 19th Century," focusing on ladies such as Florence Nightingale, Lady Lucy Duff-Gordon and Amelia Edwards, early tourists to the ancient sites represented in the sites represented in the "Souvenirs" exhibit.
Following the talk, mezzo-soprano Kit Prothero will perform 19th and 20th century music inspired by the allure of Egypt, including selections from Handel's Ptolemy, Aida, a Samuel Barber nocturne, salon songs from the 1920s, up to and including the Bangles' 1986 hit "Walk Like an Egyptian."
The Carlos is also sponsoring several Egypt-related film screenings, all to be held at 7 p.m. in 101 White Hall. On July 24, it will be The Night of Counting the Years, Shadi Abdesalam's film based on the discovery of a royal cache near Thebes in 1881 (Arabic with English subtitles). Cleopatra, Cecil B. DeMille's 1934 ode to seduction, will take the screen July 31. And slapstick fans can watch Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy on Aug. 7.
Finally, artist and actor Randy Taylor will go into character as 19th century pre-Raphaelite painter and traveler David Roberts for a children's workshop titled "The Romance of Egypt," Aug. 12. Lasting from 14 p.m., the event will take place both at the museum and at the Fox Theater. Registration is $10 for museum members and Emory faculty and staff, $12 for nonmembers. Call 404-727-0519 for information.
For more information on these or any of Carlos events, call 404-727-6118.