Predynastic Egyptian figurine UC9601 is very much in demand right now. She has just finished a stint as the poster girl for the Petrie Museum’s A Fusion of Worlds exhibition. Now this petite, 6.6 cm-high pottery statuette is on her way to the Centre Pompidou-Metz, France where she will feature in the international exhibition Simple Shapes, alongside works by Barbara Hepworth, Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore.
One of the great pleasures of working on exhibitions is finding out about history, technologies or artists you never knew much (or anything) about before. While working with Gemma Romain from UCL Equiano Centre on A Fusion of Worlds. Ancient Egypt, African Art and Identity in Modernist Britain, I learnt a great deal more about the influence of Ancient Egypt on the Harlem Renaissance and African-American activism. I already knew quite a lot about Jacob Epstein’s use of ancient art in his work but did not know how much he admired contemporary African sculpture. I only knew the artist Ronald Moody from his bust of his brother Harold Moody – founder of the League of Coloured Peoples in the UK in 1931 – which used to be in display in the National Portrait Gallery. I had, however, never knowingly come across the artist Edna Manley before. (more…)