Faces&Voices. Identity, Culture and Artefacts from Roman to Contemporary Egypt

Roberta Mazza (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


The exhibition presents for the first time to the public about 40 papyri from the Rylands collection and ten Fayum portraits of the Manchester Museum dating to the Roman era, and the works of the contemporary Egyptian artist Fathi Hassan.Egypt has always been a treasure house for historians. Rich cultures have taken root there over the centuries, and while the Egypt of the Pharaohs is known and beloved by schoolchildren across the world, Egypt’s history after the Pharaohs is equally fascinating, a story of cultural layering as the region became annexed successively to Greek, Roman, Arab, Turkish, and European empires.Thanks to Egypt’s sands and its hot, dry climate, we know far more about daily life in different historical periods there than we do about any other region of the world. While the tombs of Egypt are well known, there were other deposits made in the sands, from rubbish heaps to lost property. Instead of rotting away, written texts and artefacts of daily life remained buried for archaeologists to discover centuries later.Faces & Voices explores the secret histories which can be reconstructed from these finds. The exhibition gives a voice to the ten people portrayed on the mummy panels, and more broadly to the ancient Egyptians living under the Roman rule. It also opens questions on the way these objects came to Europe and have been integral part of a colonial discourse that we now challenge not only intellectually through our interpretations, but also visually through the works of Fathi Hassan.Egypt after the Pharaohs was—and remains—a melting-pot of cultures, with ancient and peasant cultures overlaid by the traditions of successive conquerors. When the Greeks, the Romans and then the Arabs conquered Egypt they brought their own language and their own gods, but the indigenous languages and gods of Egypt remained. And when new religions arrived—first Christianity, then Islam—the mix of cultures became even richer.The exhibition is accompanied by a number of teaching and learning activities sponsored by various UK funding bodies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Twenty Eleven Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Eventother; 2012-07-19; 2012-11-25 - The John Rylands Library
Duration: 19 Jul 201225 Nov 2012


  • Graeco-Roman Egypt, Rylands Papyri, mummy portraits,Manchester Museum, contemporary art


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