From the revelation of the Great Pyramid to the legend of Cleopatra, ancient Egypt has remained an enduring inspiration in the fields of art and design.

This exhibition explores the ongoing engagement with ancient Egypt that has inspired generations of artists, designers and thinkers. Over 150 works across painting, sculpture, fashion, photography, film, installation and more are on display, charting the huge influence ancient Egypt has had and continues to have across the world.

Artists such as David Hockney and Chris Ofili are exhibited alongside modern and contemporary Egyptian artists rarely exhibited in Britain, and the exhibition asks important questions about who these depictions of ancient Egypt serve.

Egypt has a complex history intertwined with conquest and colonial politics – the exhibition explores these themes alongside the iconic motifs and visual styles Egypt has produced, exploring how its vision is constantly being reimagined and reinvented over time.

Particular highlights include a spotlight on Cleopatra, investigating the many myths and depictions associated with her image, from seductive temptress to wise scholar and Hollywood icon. Other parts of the exhibition investigate the ‘Tutmania’ of the 20th century, when the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb inspired Art Deco style, fashion and film.

ArchaeologyArchitectureBooks & manuscriptsDesignFashionFilm & videoPaintingPhotographyPrints & drawingsSculptureAncient & classical art19th century artModern artContemporary artEast Anglia

Sainsbury Centre

University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ

01603 593199


Opening times

Tuesday – Friday 9am-6pm (exhibitions 9.30am-6pm)
Saturday – Sunday 10am-5pm (exhibitions 10am-5pm)
Closed Mondays, including bank holidays

  • Timed ticketing and one-way system for exhibitions

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