Here's Why A Nas-Inspired King Tut Statue At An Art Museum Is Sparking Controversy
"The exhibition does not claim the ancient Egyptians were Black," the museum director said in defense of the exhibit.
May 25, 2023 at 9:40 pm
Nas is at the center of controversy after a European art exhibit used his likeness in a King Tut-inspired statue. The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, the Netherlands, recently opened up its Kemet: Egypt in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul and Funk exhibit, which explores the connection between “music by Black artists whose work refers to ancient Egypt and Nubia.”
Naturally, hip-hop music videos, album covers, photographs and contemporary artworks are displayed. One of the showcased pieces is a bust of the Egyptian Pharoh King Tutankhamun by artist Dave Cortes. The face of the statue is reminiscent of the album cover for Nas’s 1999 studio project, I Am…, sparking backlash since its debut.
Egyptian antiquities expert Abd al-Rahim Rihan said the museum insulted “Egyptian civilization by portraying Tutankhamun as Black” and “cloning an Egyptian antiquity,” as reported by the Egyptian Independent.
Rihan went on to say that the artwork violated Article 39 of the Protection of Antiquities Law No. 117 of 1983 and its amendments. The law stipulates that “only the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt may produce modern models of antiquities, provided that it is stamped by it.”