Apr 22, 2023 – Sep 3, 2023

Exhibition 'Exhibition Kemet - Egypt in hip-hop, jazz, soul & funk' in National Museum of Antiquities

From early jazz to today's hip-hop, from Miles Davis and Sun Ra to Beyoncé and Rihanna - you can see and hear in much of the music that its creators were inspired by ancient Egypt and Nubia. In the exhibition Kemet. Egypt in hip-hop, jazz, soul & funk focuses on the music of artists with African roots. It is a journey through music history in search of the appeal of ancient Egypt. What does ancient Egypt mean to these musicians? In the exhibition with an event program full of music and ancient Egyptian culture, you dive into the world of artists and history.

From Sun Ra to Rihanna
Both Beyoncé and Rihanna had themselves portrayed as the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, rapper Nas was portrayed as pharaoh Tutankhamun on the cover of his legendary album I am... In the 1980s, actor Eddie Murphy played the pharaoh Ramses in the music video for Remember the Time, and almost all of the album covers of the band Earth, Wind & Fire from that era feature something ancient Egyptian. Artists such as Lauryn Hill and KRS-One rap about Egyptian antiquity. These ancient Egyptian themes go back to the 1950s, when jazz musician Sun Ra and his Arkestra combined jazz, Egyptian themes and the space age into a style of music that is still influential today.

Kemet - the black land
Ancient Egypt and Nubia have been an undeniable source of inspiration for musicians from the African diaspora for the past seventy years. The artists embrace and claim these ancient African cultures to express resistance, empowerment and spiritual healing. They often hark back to the name the Egyptians themselves gave to their land: Kemet, "the black land. The imaginings of Kemet make the culture of the ancient Egyptians not only something of the past, but also precisely something of the present and future. In music history, we see this reflected in many jazz, funk, soul, pop, reggae and rap artists, including Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Prince, Fela Kuti, Erykah Badu and Nas. Also in the Netherlands - for example, in the music of hip-hop formation Zwart Licht and of Ray Fuego.

Music and antiquities
Music has the leading role in the exhibition. With video clips, audio fragments, concert recordings, photos and album covers, you will discover the story of famous and less famous musicians and their connection with ancient Egypt. Musician Typhoon created an audio tour to accompany the exhibition, and rapper Nnelg reveals his connection to ancient Egypt and Nubia in a new track. Not to be missed in the exhibition is rapper Nas' golden sculpture as King Tutankhamun and garments from Sun Ra's Arkestra. You will also see ancient statues of gods, gold jewelry, hieroglyphic texts and royal portraits from various museum collections.

Event program and education
In addition to the exhibition, there will be an event program with concerts, lectures and more. MBO students and upper secondary students can win great prizes with the creative competition Kemet Night, or visit the exhibition with the teaching program Kemet_QR. For children up to 12 years old, there is a (free) Egypt Summer School and an artistic craft project during the summer vacation.

More information

National Museum of Antiquities

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