The Past is Present: Becoming Egyptian in the Twentieth Century

A temporary exhibition at the British Museum which explored the way everyday items adopted ancient Egyptian symbolism and helped to build a modern national identity. The objects were collected as part of the museum’s Modern Egypt project which was established to document historical, economic and cultural developments in Egypt over the past century and to bring renewed contemporary relevance to the museum’s ancient Egyptian collections.

Our design ordered the objects into personal and public groupings. Fabric sourced from the museum’s basement stores provided an intimate backdrop to small domestic objects while exterior cement cladding was used to frame street signs at high level. This shift in materiality and position within the gallery was used to subtly present the connections within and between groupings.

Curated by Mohamed Elshahed & Neal Spencer

Graphic design by Anna Lincoln

Lighting by Jono Kenyon at Beam

Photos by Thomas Adank + All Things Studio