They said I better not attend her funeral. For years, I didn’t talk about her. I couldn’t get myself to visit her grave. In time, forgotten photographs of her were unearthed and framed with care. Her most mundane belongings acquired value for us, simply because they had outlived her. Slowly, her house turned into a museum of memories. Till I too became another visitor, waiting impatiently to enter her decorated tomb and stare in fascination at her mummy.
Growing up in a country shaped by its history as a necropolis of an ancient civilisation sparked my interest in investigating the complex relationship we Egyptians have with our ancestors. In my project ‘The Fourth Pyramid Belongs To Her’, I discuss the historical, archaeological, and touristic attitudes that shape this relationship and reflect on some phenomena that I’ve noticed around me such as the theatrical representation of ancient tombs, the transformation of mausoleums into museums, and the national fever for illegal excavations buoyed by hopes of finding treasures. To accentuate the absence of collective mourning for the ancient Egyptians, I portray my grandmother as one of the pharaohs, attempting, in turn, to project my personal grieving for her onto them. In doing so, this project becomes an invitation to re-acknowledge their forgotten humanity and to see them through my eyes mourning my grandmother.