Hetep-Bastet, A Famous Mummy in Montréal

as part of Montréal Museums Day

May 29, 2016 - May 29, 2016

Opening: May 29, 2016, 10:00 am

The Galerie de l’UQAM is proud to present the event Hetep-Bastet, A Famous Mummy in Montréal during the 30th edition of Montréal Museums Day (MMD) on May 29. For the Galerie’s first participation in Montréal Museums Day, the public will be invited to meet the iconic mummy in the Collection d’oeuvres d’art de l’UQAM, as well as her sarcophagus. It is a rare opportunity to view these important pieces and learn about their numerous adventures, from the birth of Hetep-Bastet in ancient Egypt to the present day.

Who was Hetep-Bastet?

Hetep-Bastet was a wealthy Egyptian woman who lived during the 26th Dynasty of the Pharaohs, around 600 B.C. In 1927, the Cairo Museum gave her mummy and its priceless sarcophagus to Montréal’s École des beaux-arts, which displayed this extraordinary gift in their entrance hall. Probably during the protests of 1968, Hetep-Bastet was hurled to the ground by a student who had smashed her glass case, also damaging her wooden coffin. With no resources to repair them, the damaged mummy and the sarcophagus were stored in a vault in the building until they were transferred to UQAM in 1969, when it was founded and merged with the École des beaux-arts. But the treasures would have to wait until the late 1990s for their restoration.

This is only a small piece of the dramatic destiny of Hetep-Bastet, who, in the years that followed, became an object of insatiable study for Egyptologists, an exceptional source of scientific advances, the muse of a documentary film, and the star of exhibitions on ancient Egypt and contemporary art. Visitors will be able to discover Hetep-Bastet’s many incarnations on Montréal Museums’ Day, more than 2600 years after her birth.

The mummy’s last public appearance dates back to 2008. It was loaned to the Canadian Museum of Civilization for the exhibition Tombs of Eternity: The Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, where it was displayed alongside 200 artifacts from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and other ancient Egyptian artifacts from Canadian collections. The last time the mummy was on view in Montréal was in 2003 at the Galerie de l’UQAM, for the exhibition Sarkis. 2600 ans après 10 minutes 44 secondes. The Armenian-born artist mounted an installation on the theme of death, featuring various objects, including the remains of Hetep-Bastet.

Montréal Museums Day

Montréal Museums Day is a popular open house event aimed at publicizing Montréal’s museums and encouraging the public to form an attachment to them. Each spring, MMD attracts over 100,000 visitors in a single day. This festive outing is presented by Québecor in collaboration with the STM and a number of other partners.

Collection d’oeuvres d’art de l’UQAM

The Hetep-Bastet mummy is part of the Collection d’oeuvres d’art de l’UQAM, which includes pieces transferred from the École des beaux-arts (EBAM) at the founding of the University in 1969. Managed by the Galerie de l’UQAM, it currently comprises more than 4000 works and objects that reflect the teaching of art in Montréal, some currents of contemporary art in Quebec, and the individual practices of recognized Quebec artists. The major element of the collection is the legacy of Albert Dumouchel’s engraving workshop, comprising some 3000 prints made by students between 1955 and 1970, including Pierre Ayot, Francine Beauvais, and Louis Pelletier. It also includes the corpus of public art integrated into the UQAM campus as well as a number of works acquired independently since 1980. Sculpture (Henri Saxe, David Altmejd, Marcel Barbeau, Danielle April, Michel Goulet), photography (Raphaëlle de Groot, Alain Paiement, Angela Grauerholz, Geneviève Cadieux), paintings (Paterson Ewen, Janet Werner, Françoise Sullivan, Claude Tousignant, Cynthia Girard), drawings (Pierre Gauvreau, Stéphane Gilot, Edmund Alleyn), video (Pascal Grandmaison, Chantal duPont, Michel de Broin, Jocelyn Robert), engravings and artists books create a rich, current portrait of the vitality of the visual arts at UQAM. Several sets of ancient objects from various cultures and periods, mostly inherited from the École des beaux-arts, complete the collection.

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