Welcome Back to London (Mohamed Mokhtar, Senior Fellow 2019)
Mohamed Mokhtar (ITP 2015, Egypt, Senior Fellow 2019) Curator, Abdeen Palace Museums, Cairo.
I arrived on Sunday at Heathrow airport. It was a good flight and I was surprised by how quiet the airport seemed to be. It was not very crowded and I managed to finish my paper work in only ten minutes! This was an indication it was to be a good start to my first day back in London.
The weather was perfect and my taxi driver who took me to my accommodation at Schafer House was very funny. I couldn’t wait until the morning to see the British Museum, so I went quickly to see the Museum before it closed. Unfortunately it was already closed, but I started to remember the fond memories from when I was here last time and that this year, with all the new fellows, will be useful and enjoyable for us all.
On Monday morning I had the chance to have a quick tour in the Museum before meeting the ITP team. The Great Court was difficult to cross at the entrance of the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery due to the crowds waiting for it to open at 10 am!
I went to the Chinese and South Asia gallery to explore more and I visited the Chinese Jade Exhibition. Jade has been a material of the highest value since ancient times, prized for its beauty and magical properties. The objects on display in this exquisite gallery illustrate the history of the exotic stone.
The other half of the gallery is dedicated to objects from South Asia. The highlights include seals from the Indus civilisation, superb South Indian sculptures of Shiva and one of the finest statues of the goddess Tara from Sri Lanka.
I then had the pleasure to meet the ITP team, Claire Messenger, Emily Shaw and George Peckham, for lunch. We were also joined by Rebecca Horton (former ITP Coordinator) and Manuela Lehmann (Egypt and Sudan, ITP Department Representative) and we talked about the role of the senior fellow as well as some updates about my work in the Abdeen Palace Museums. After lunch, Claire guided me through the Egypt and Sudan department where I met with colleagues and talked briefly about their work and projects.
I am feeling very excited and happy as I count down the days until I meet this year’s ITP fellows. I hope that they will invest in this opportunity as much as they can and that they can learn, exchange ideas, and create new connections and friendships over this year’s summer programme.
Senior Fellow 2019