Why do Australians love Egyptian blockbusters … still?

Why does an over 3000-year-old culture still pull audiences, and what is the lure of the Egyptian blockbuster for Australians?

It all feels very familiar – images of pharaohs and mummies – in an Indiana Jones-cum-Tomb Raider kind of way. As audiences, we have been tutored into the world of Egyptology via the big screen, coffee table books, TV documentaries and even graphic cartoons. So, what does it feel like to stand in front of these objects? And is it worth the cost of bringing these exhibitions to Australia?

This week, the Australian Museum (AM) gave us a teaser to its $2.6 billion exhibition Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs, scheduled to open in November. The Museum was forced to cancel its 2021 blockbuster, Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, due to COVID touring complications.

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Gina Fairley is ArtsHub's National Visual Arts Editor. For a decade she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the Regional Contributing Editor for Hong Kong based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing she worked as an arts manager in America and Australia for 14 years, including the regional gallery, biennale and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina