Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sarcophagus to rise over courtyard

Museum wraps up preparations for ancient Egypt exhibit

  • Print

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press

Gold, red, and blue add contrast to the bright orange figure.

It's fascinating, and a bit creepy, to gaze upon the ancient face of the dead.

That's exactly what everyone can do when a three-metre sarcophagus goes up on Main Street in front of the Manitoba Museum on Tuesday.

Two local artists and an architect have created a huge sarcophagus -- the ornate container ancient Egyptians used to house the coffin containing the mummified body of a deceased individual.

It will be a towering four metres once mounted and will herald the Manitoba Museum's Wrapped: Mummy of Pesed temporary exhibit running Oct. 25 to April 6.

Pesed was a woman born around 350 BC and is believed to have died 55 to 70 years later. The exhibit will include 60 ancient Egyptian artifacts, cat and falcon mummies, and forensic facial reconstructions of human mummies.

The sarcophagus will be set at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the museum's courtyard, next to the Planetarium, where a 4.6-metre animatronic model of a dinosaur stood earlier this year, where the public can view it.

"I've done everything from movies, to houses to hats but this is a first for me. I'm just thrilled, we all are, to be part of this project," said Kim Forrest, the veteran artist who hand-painted the sarcophagus. She used a historically correct deep orange overlaid with intricate designs, scenes and figures inspired by research on ancient Egypt, but with a flavour of Manitoba's indigenous people in the colours and detail.

"I hope it draws people to the museum. There's a whole new energy around the museum right now. This was made and manufactured in Winnipeg, so this is something for the whole community to share," Forrest said.

The sarcophagus was designed by Anne Armit of Winnipeg, internationally renowned for her 30-year career as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet's wardrobe director. The creation of the sarcophagus also involved architect Peter Hargraves of Sputnik Architecture and the University of Manitoba. At the U of M, the design was laser-cut into layers of dense foam to build the structure which was then sprayed with a truck-bed liner coating to seal it. The finished product was sprayed with a protective clear coat.

"We tried to find a balance; we didn't make it a dead representation of history. We had some artistic licence, but it had to be something people would recognize and have some appeal for children," said Armit, who drew 15 concepts before this one was chosen.

"It was a bit daunting for me to think outside of the box and come up with this, but I've had so much support and the museum has been fantastic to work with."e

The ancient Egyptians believed people needed their bodies in the afterlife, so great care was taken in protecting the body. Sarcophagi were usually for prominent people of the time, such as royalty, and elaborately decorated to show the dead person's talents or achievements.

Features of the person were often painted where the face would be. Some contained items thought to be needed in the afterlife, such as pets or valuables.

This sarcophagus can't be opened, but one only needs imagination to think of what would be inside if it could be opened.

"I really hope that every child in Winnipeg wants to be photographed with it. This is the beginning of the museum spilling out of its doors and greeting Winnipeggers and Manitobans and saying, 'Come and see what we've got going on here,' " said Greg Klassen, the museum's marketing and communications manager.

"This is a really great way to engage people, to create an energy outside of the museum to draw people in, be visually exciting and colourful. I really believe in outdoor art and that it should be accessible to everyone."

There will be QR codes on its base for people to scan with their smartphones to link to the museum's website for information about the exhibit.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 12, 2013 A15

History

Updated on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 1:26 PM CDT: Corrected engineer to architect

10:23 PM: Correction re: job description.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Your top TV picks for this weekend - Aug 29 - Sept 1

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Goose sits in high grass near Marion Friday afternoon for cover -See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 18 - May 25, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A monarch butterfly looks for nectar in Mexican sunflowers at Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park Monday afternoon-Monarch butterflys start their annual migration usually in late August with the first sign of frost- Standup photo– August 22, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of the new school-zone speed limit?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google