Gurna - Living Villages in the City of the Dead
This exhibition is now a historic document in its own right. It looks at the mid-1990s state and problems of the Theban West Bank hillside community. That community no longer lives on the hillside, and their houses and whole built heritage were destroyed by the government 2005-10. No longer ‘living villages’ – they have become part of the city of the dead’s story.
The major part of this exhibition was made in 1997 in answer to requests from people in Qurna to help them in their struggle to remain in their old houses on the hillside. It was designed as a tool to inform and encourage their own discussion amongst the families on the hillside, to use to explain the history of their problem when discussing it with the authorities, and to show to tourists so that they too could understand the social history and problems that the people faced in this World Heritage Site. In order to begin to analyse those problems, it was necessary for Caroline Simpson to research the past, and it was during this research that the whole Qurna History Project began, and the Robert Hay drawings were ‘found’. In 2007 a few additional panels were made to bring the Qurna story up to date and introduce the Qurna History Project.
This exhibition was on display on the hillside as part of Qurna Discovery 2001 - 2009 and was also shown in Cairo in 2007 at the American University, and in Cambridge University, England, at a conference of the Association for the Study of Travel in Egypt and the Near East. It is now on display at the Balady Centre with the Robert Hay exhibition.
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