The idea behind the mural came from my time here in Egypt. The mural depicts a Baboon Mummy, the baboon mummy that I used as reference comes from the Cairo Museum.
I started learning to read hieroglyphics in the first months here, and what struck me was the absolute power of symbols, the multi layered and rich complexity a symbol can express as opposed to the narrow definition of a written word. That got me thinking, I wanted to create a kind of hieroglyph, a picture that stands as a symbol for another concept. The baboon mummy in my way of thinking represents bureaucracy or an old way of thinking. Egypt is a very bureaucratic place, and this in a way was a critique of that.
Making public art in Egypt is unbelievably difficult and you can easily get arrested, that is also why it is important to work in a
The mural also has other elements, behind the baboon mummy is a motif I found in the coptic christian area, it is a more modern European design and behind that is an arabesque pattern. The motif and the pattern together with the mummy is a comment on the multicultural aspect of Egypt and the world, because all of our western and eastern culture is derived from the ancient Egyptians. The picture shows a clash of civilizations and ways of thinking.
I had a very hard time getting a wall to paint it on, I got help from Darb1718, a cultural arts centre in Cairo who gave me a very large wall at first but we had to move it because the government would not allow someone to paint on the big wall. Art is seen as very threatening and dangerous to the government here, and perhaps this fear will come to South Africa too. I was forced to find other ways to express my ideas, and I think that by working symbolically is an answer to the censorship.