Art in Bloom 2016 (Egypt)

With this second post about floral arrangements found in the ancient galleries, I’d like to present the two that were located in the Egyptian section.  I’m also including another floral design inspired by something Egyptian that is found elsewhere in the Museum.

Inspired by the Amulet of Isis and Horus
By Cydney Davis-English

At first, this arrangement didn’t really grab me–probably because I couldn’t see a connection to the actual work of art. However, after reading the description offered by the florist, my opinion somewhat changed. I truly appreciated her effort to rehabilitate the name of this Egyptian deity…. Let’s face it, when we hear the name ‘Isis’ in the media these days, the great Egyptian goddess is not what comes to mind. Unfortunately.

Inspired by the Face from a Wooden Coffin
By Sherri Suttle

In terms of flowers, this is not really what I would associate with an Egyptian coffin. I think it might be because the colours are so dark. They are usually so much more vibrant than that…  The design is not bad per se, but it doesn’t feel very Egyptian to me.  However, the ‘Kiss of Death ginger’ sparked a conversation between me and my friend Corey and complete strangers.  None of us knew what the heck ‘Kiss of Death ginger’ was!  It’s that think that looks like a pine cone.  We actually had to Google it. In a way, the name of that plant (if not the plant itself) was fitting for a coffin!
And now the Egyptianizing surprise I mentioned above. This can be found in the European galleries…

Inspired by the Banquet of Cleopatra and Antony
By Julie Vaughan

My first view of this particular floral arrangement was the back of it (photo on the left).  And I did not like it!  However, as I went around to see the front I realised the back was much better… because I really, really did not like the recto (photo on the right).  I have come to realise that I don’t particularly like when flowers with short stems are crammed together like sardines.  What I did find amusing, though, is that when you look at the verso of the arrangement, you see another picture of Cleopatra. Take a look a the picture on the left and you’ll see in the background our friend Cleo about to dunk a pearl in her cup of vinegar. (Yes, we have two paintings of Cleopatra in that one gallery of the Museum.)

Art in Bloom 2016 (Mesoamerica)

Again this year the Museum is hosting its fabulous Art in Bloom event, which was extremely popular in 2015.  The fundraiser, which started yesterday, runs through Sunday and, in the next few days, I will share images and impressions of the floral installations in my ancient galleries. Let us start with Mesoamerica…

Inspired by Standing Female Figurine from West Mexico
By Joseph Barnes

I find this floral arrangement very simple yet elegant. However, I find it more inspired by ideas and impressions of the cultures of ancient Americas rather than the figurine itself.  The round yellow flowers remind me of maize kernels and large-bead necklaces, the use of wood brings impressions of people living in harmony with nature…  I’ll admit that as far as Nayarit figurines go (we’re talking about the one alone in the upper left corner of the display case), this one is not particularly inspiring… I find the flowers more alluring than the work of art!

Art in Bloom (Egypt)

Spring has sprung and to celebrate I thought I would share with you a couple of photos from the Museum’s Art in Bloom event, held this weekend.  Art in Bloom is exactly what it sounds like: Art. In. Bloom.  During four days the permanent galleries are delightfully decorated with superb floral arrangements that are inspired by the works of art in the collection.  Today, I am presenting the floral designs (and my impressions of them) influenced by two works of art in my Egyptian galleries.

Inspired by the False Door of NiankhSnefru, called Fefi
Floral design by Linda McLendon

Floral arrangement inspired by Fefi's False Door.

Floral arrangement inspired by Fefi’s False Door.

This was actually my favourite of the Egyptian inspired designs, although I’m not quite sure I fully see the false door in it.  (And there wasn’t a description on the label, so I really don’t know what inspired the designer.) I find the design deceptively simple and very elegant and perhaps that’s how Ms. McLendon saw the false door.  The white flowers certainly speak to the door’s unfinished state and the colour of the limestone.

Detail of Linda McLendon's floral design.

Detail of Linda McLendon’s floral design.


And I absolutely loved the vases—they have an Asian look, undoubtedly the reason why I was attracted to them. It’s actually hard to see on the photo featuring both the flowers and the false door together, so here’s a close-up. I have to admit, this photo does not do justice to the piece. You don’t see the wonderful colours of the wooden vases and the crispness of the blooms.  They are very precise, like the hieroglyphs on the door.



Inspired by the Bust of Sekhmet
Floral design by Karl H. Hastings, Jr.

Floral arrangement inspired by the goddess Sekhmet.

Floral arrangement inspired by the goddess Sekhmet.

I’ll be honest with you: this design did not strike my fancy. Actually none of the ones with flattened flowers or top heavy designs grabbed me.  The designer’s poetic description of the ‘ goddess of war and healing from a parched and weary land’ is also opposite of my impression of this powerful deity and the civilisation I love so  much. I see Sekhmet as a wild creature that can be tamed on occasion, two opposites that complement each other. She vibrant and full of energy, none of which I feel in this design.

And while Egypt is surrounded by desert cliffs and may appear lifeless to many, the flood plain and marshes are filled with amazing wildlife life and flora so beautifully depicted on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs.  Herodotus said it, Egypt is a gift of the Nile… it is full of life and promise.