Visions of Ancient Egypt at the Laing Art Gallery

Take a look into Laing Art Gallery's new Ancient Egyptian exhibit

Emily Lowes
21st February 2023
Image Credit: @TheEES on Twitter

Opening the two grand oak wood doors, in all the Laing’s glory, you are immediately greeted by a large oil on canvas piece by Agnes Pringle, a Gateshead native. The painting dated 1897, hangs bold and detailed. Moving on through abstract and modern works on Cleopatra's beauty, you are taken to 30BC in which the Romans conquered Egypt, with sandstone and Parian marble busts of Jupiter-Serapis and the Sphinx. From here you arrive at three aged books. The books contain illustrations of Egypt, filled with intricate and colourful hieroglyphics, and soft delicate Arabic dancing across the page.

Snapping from the awe of these ancient books, you turn a corner to be find a statement armchair by British Designer, George Smith, in all Egyptian glamour, with a Medusa head in the centre and two panthers snarling around either arm. Upon exit of the first exhibition room, you find yourself surrounded by sketches by David Roberts and lithographed by Louis Haghe.

The exhibition includes two pieces by David Hockney, The Actor and The Egyptian Head, both made after his trip to Egypt in 1963

A particularly eye catching, daydream inducing piece pulls you so hard, you can almost feel the sand beneath your feet and the warm dense air caressing your blushed cheeks – this is The Ruins of The Temple Kom Ombos from 1842 by David Roberts.

Onto the second exhibition room! Here, you explore an array of late 1800s oil paintings of women, dazzling scarab jewels, vintage dresses and an abundance of artworks encapsulating the emergence of global celebrity Tutankhamun in the 1920s. The exhibition tails off into the present day with pieces from Khaled Hafez, and two of David Hockney’s pieces, The Actor and The Egyptian Head, both made after Hockney's trip to Egypt in 1963.

A quote on the wall, "Egypt is not a country we live, but a country that lives within us", from Coptic Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria is lit with a lime green tone by the neon light artwork by Awol ErizkuNefertiti’ which leaves you with a pleasant sense of inspiration - and a side of hunger to be back in the room. A real must see.

Visions of Ancient Egypt is on display at the Laing Art Gallery from January 28th to April 29th. Entry is £9 (with student ID).

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