Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, December 18, 2005

Protesters: King Tut exhibit depicts wrong skin color

December 18, 2005

Advertisement

— A "King Tut is back and he's still black" placard drew the gaze of visitors making their way to view the acclaimed exhibit at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

Across from the entrance, about 25 demonstrators donning T-shirts marked with various pro-black slogans held up the placards. Waving the red, black and green African flag, at times moving to the beat of djembe drums on the sidewalk, they asked drivers in passing cars to honk in support of their goal: reminding people not to take the lighter-skinned portrait of King Tutankhamun on display as an accurate depiction.

"We're visual people, so whatever they throw at us, we're going to take it as a fact, when in reality it's just a theory," said demonstrator Asante Waa. "We're afraid of the implications that this re-creation is going to have on kids, especially on black kids."

Particularly controversial in "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs" are computer-generated busts of Tut with a skin tone that critics say make him look Caucasian.


Visitors look at the coffin of Tjuya on Thursday during the opening of the King Tut exhibit at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The exhibit opened its doors at the second of four venues during its 27-month tour of the United States.

Visitors look at the coffin of Tjuya on Thursday during the opening of the King Tut exhibit at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The exhibit opened its doors at the second of four venues during its 27-month tour of the United States.

"For the Image of the Living God (as Tutankhamun represents) to be replaced with anything else but a black man's is a slap in the face," said Alicia Milligen, a Lauderhill, Fla., nurse.

Demonstrators passed out fliers with information about the Boy King who reigned over Egypt more than 2,000 years ago. They hope to educate others about King Tut by visiting schools, churches and libraries, said demonstrator Evie Iles.

"It's our history," said Iles, who viewed the exhibit and thinks the lighter skin tone may be a marketing strategy. "We encourage people to go and see the authentic artifacts and to challenge what's inauthentic."

Mary Lefkowitz, a retired classics professor and author of "Not Out of Africa: How 'Afrocentrism' Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History," said Saturday that the demonstrators had a point.

"Ancient Egyptians from Memphis (Egypt) would have had to go to the back of the bus in Memphis, Tennessee, during the days of segregation," the Wellesley, Mass.-based author said in a telephone interview. "The Egyptians were kind of copper-colored."

Museum of Art officials say they are talking to historians with different viewpoints about planning a forum on the topic, but no date has been set.

"It's an interesting conversation that needs to be held," said Lynn Mandeville, director of community affairs.

Museum visitors said they know the ancient Egyptians were not white, but the demonstration did put the race question at the forefront of some people's minds.

Comments

classclown 9 years, 1 month ago

And just how do they know what color King Tut or any of the original Egyptians were? Are they back to claiming that every historical figure was black?

wonderhorse 9 years, 1 month ago

If these people want to demonstrate, they ought to go after churches that depict Jesus as white. Just a thought that could them busy and in the newspapers for a long time.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.