Visions of Ancient Egypt

This is a historic exhibition. It is no longer available to visit and this page is only retained as a record of the previous event. For current and future exhibitions, visit our What's On page.

Art, Design and the Cultural Imagination

A photograph of a neon sign, depicting Nefiriti (queen of Egypt)


Until 29 April 2023 (historic exhibition)


Visions of Ancient Egypt: Art, Design and the Cultural Imagination 

This exhibition examines the enduring appeal of ancient Egypt in art and design, exploring how ancient Egypt has been re-imagined across time to suit different ambitions and to construct changing identities. It uses two important historic events as a point of departure – Jean-François Champollion’s 1822 decipherment of hieroglyphs and Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Including paintings, sculpture, photography, fashion and jewellery, this wide-ranging exhibition traces how processes of re-invention, appropriation and subversion have generated multiple visions of Egypt since the Roman period. The Western fascination with ancient Egypt is explored side-by-side with Egypt’s own engagement with its ancient past.

The exhibition features art works from antiquity to the present day and by artists including Joshua Reynolds, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, David Hockney, Chant Avedissian, Chris Ofili and Sara Sallam.

This exhibition is organised by the Sainsbury Centre in association with the Laing Art Gallery.

Cover image: Nefertiti (Black Power), 2018, Awol Erizku © the Artist, Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts

If you have a particular interest in Egyptian history, we recommend that you visit the Ancient Egypt Gallery at the Great North Museum: Hancock where you can see many perfectly preserved Egyptian artefacts, including some on loan from the British Museum.