Historic artwork honors Egyptian death, afterlife

By Melody Ortiz

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has loaned the Vincent Price Art Museum Egyptian artwork to display, including funerary tools and a real mummy.
“Passing through the Underworld” the exhibition, introduces “Egyptian art with a focus on myth and funerary practice.”
LACMA is eager to get more people through the door for the historic experience before the displays leave VPAM.
“A large number of people that live in this community don’t know that Vincent Price exists,” said Marvella Muro, LACMA’s community engagement manager.
Muro said she was able to get people to come to VPAM by mentioning it at libraries and museums where she held events.
During VPAM’s Family Day on Saturday, visitors were taken on tours and participated in workshops.
During the tour, everyone was in awe by the mummified body of a woman and her coffin. Engraved in the coffin are inscriptions from the Book of the Dead.
“This is not about the soul and its relation to God,” said teaching assistant, Gloria Westcott, who lead the tour of the exhibit. “This is about the journey of the soul in relationship to its human being.”
Westcott said this about the pictures on the side of the coffin, showing the journey of death.
Westcott showed visitors a piece used to hold the eye makeup Egyptians used, a mummified pet falcon, and some small statues of Egyptian gods.
Visitors learned about the significance of food and drinks during ancient Egyptian times from Maite Gomez-Rejon.
Rejon has a company called ArtBites that combines art history with culinary arts. She explained what foods were used for funerary services and rituals. Visitors were also shown tools Egyptians made to help grind food.
After the tour, attendees tried dishes that pharaohs used to eat.
Artist assistant, Gabriel Rojas assisted visitors during the workshop, where they decorated little sarcophagi.
“We pretty much do that same methodology of looking at artwork, talking about it, and then doing a project afterwards, which we do at (LACMA) but we’re doing it here,” said Rojas.
Rojas said they do workshops based on the items on display for the current exhibit. In previous workshops, visitors were able to make Egyptian necklaces, masks and crowns.
Last year, LACMA held an exhibit on chinese ceramics. This year is the Egyptian exhibit as well as a photography exhibit by Mariana Yampolsky, displayed in the foyer.
Supported by a grant through the James Irvine Foundation, LACMA has been able to hold these exhibitions and other programs for the public.
LACMA will have another on-site workshop at the East Los Angeles Library where visitors will use papyrus as a canvas for a bookmaking project.
Another workshop will be at the Bruggemeyer Library in Monterey Park, where visitors will be able to make their own amulets.
LACMA also has on-site events going on in Compton and North Hollywood.
“Passing through the Underworld” will be on display until Dec. 8. Entry is free and open to the public. VPAM is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and stays open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays.
LACMA is open everyday except Wednesday. From Monday-Friday, it’s open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. (8 p.m. on Fridays). On weekends it’s open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
For L.A. County residents, admission is free on weekdays after 3 p.m. Regular admission is $20 for adults and $16 for seniors and students with an ID.
For more information, visit lacma.org/on-site.

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