Starting June 6, the Philbrook Museum offers Tulsans the opportunity to view a prestigious collection of Egyptian artifacts in an exhibition titled, To Live Forever, from New York City's world-class Brooklyn Museum.
After exhibiting the work of abstract artist, Hans Hoffman, from the year 1950, the Philbrook is now sending its visitors as far as 6,000 years back in time to 4,000 B.C., where they will make discoveries about life in ancient Egypt and how its people perceived the afterlife.
"This exhibit is very different from traditional shows about Egypt," said Dr. Tanya Paul, member of the exhibit's curatorial team. "While many shows are flashy without a lot of substance, this exhibit has everything visitors would expect from a show of this nature, while also providing a deeper level of substance."
This collection of artifacts and historical pieces explore the Egyptians' beliefs regarding the afterlife and is made especially fascinating by the inclusion of current studies and research in its presentation.
A portion of the exhibit is devoted to revealing the burial practices not only of the upper class but also of those lower in society. The exhibition clearly displays the ways in which the lower classes made efforts to imitate the burial practices of the elite.
For example, canopic jars were used by the wealthy to house and preserve the organs of the deceased seeing as they believed they would be needed in the afterlife. Unfortunately, the process of utilizing canopic jars was expensive and could only be afforded by the wealthy.
It has recently been discovered, however, that Egyptians outside of this elite circle would place dummy canopic jars without organs in the tombs of their deceased to give the illusion of importance. Examples of these "dummy" jars are on display in the exhibition as well as other burial secrets from the lives of the lesser privileged Egyptians.
The theme of this show -- as indicated in its title -- is the idea of afterlife and the monumental role it played in the lives of the ancient Egyptians.
As one enters the exhibition and heads right, they find information and artifacts that explain the multiple stages of the funeral process and details as to why so many rituals were necessary. From there, visitors enter a section dedicated to mummies and the mummification process. As can be expected, the elaborate and beautifully preserved mummies found here are among the highlights of the exhibition.
Visitors then enter a large space devoted to explaining the act of substitution and imitation in the burial process executed by the lower class. Approximately half of the exhibit is dedicated to this information seeing as it involves the most recent discoveries regarding the lives of lesser known levels of Egyptian social structure.
Finally, in the center of the space, visitors find information about the tombs themselves and have a chance to view artifacts, canopic jars and daily items such as games and jewelry the Egyptians believed they would need in the afterlife.
All of the items in the show are from the extensive collection of historical artifacts from the Brooklyn Museum. The show has been traveling around the country and Tulsa is the sixth stop along its journey.
On the opening day of the exhibit, Sunday, June 6, Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian, Classical and Ancient Middle Eastern Art of the Brooklyn Museum, will give a lecture regarding the burial practices of all classes in Ancient Egypt. This lecture is free with museum admission and begins at 2pm.
In honor of this one-of-a-kind chance to bring the history of Egypt to Tulsa, the Philbrook hosts a series of programming throughout the summer related to the theme of ancient Egypt. For instance, July's Film on the Lawn series will consist exclusively of Egyptian-themed films, such as The Mummy, The Prince of Egypt and Cleopatra.
The museum's monthly Third Thursday events will relate to the topic of Ancient Egypt as well.
To Live Forever will be on display until September 12 and is free with museum admission. More information can be found online at philbrook.org
The Burning World
The work of Oklahoma artist, Eric Humphries will be on display at the Tulsa Artist Coalition beginning Thursday, June 4 for an opening reception 6 till 9pm. The show opens as a part of the Brady District Art Walk and will be on display through June 26.
This collection of Humphries' work entitled, Is the Whole World on Fire? was inspired by the Tulsa Race riots that occurred from May 31 through June 1, 1921.
The paintings are hung in such a way that as the viewer moves from painting to painting they will see the tragic events unfold in chronological order artistically translated through Humphries fresh voice.
Humphries' paintings are colorful with stylized mark making, and each is accompanied by an actual photograph of the event. Humphries used these photographs as inspiration for his work, and they are exhibited with the paintings as a way of making the horrific nature of the events more real to the viewer.
Humphries' interpretations of this tragic event are well-researched social statements, and his unique artistic style is meant to simplify the events leaving the most important elements on the surface so they will not be misinterpreted.
The Tulsa Artist Coalition is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6-9pm. More information is available online at tacgallery.org.
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