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Egyptian Fantasia: Leading artists supporting a new home for the Petrie Museum of Egyptology at unique event

Publication date: Sep 5, 2006 2:45:26 PM

Tracy Emin and Bridget Riley are among the leading artists who have donated works for an auction to raise funds to support the re-housing of the UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology. The auction will take place at the end of a glittering party that will see the south cloisters of UCL transformed for the night into a 1930s Cairo souk, with internationally renowned musicians and dancers performing while guests consult the Sphinx, relax with a shishah pipe in the Bedouin tent and are waited on by Pharaoh’s handmaidens.

Both Tracy Emin and Bridget Riley cite Egypt, ancient and modern, as an inspiration for their early work. Other artists who have donated work for the auction include Heather Tweed, the Saatchi Gallery Critics’ choice for July, who has donated a piece from her Anubis Other World Tour, and Christie Brown and Sarah Beddington, both of whom have been inspired by the Petrie.

The Petrie was winner of the prestigious 2005 Museum and Heritage Classic Award for Excellence, and houses over 80,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts, making it one of the most notable collections in the world. Much of its collection is not easily visible due to the lack of space of its current home at UCL, which is why the university has embarked on a campaign to raise the necessary funds to create the Institute for Cultural Heritage, a major new museum space for the heart of London that would house the Petrie and many of UCL’s other notable collections.

“We have been staggered by the response to the event,” says Lucia Gahlin, Chair of the Friends of the Petrie Museum. “It is wonderful to receive such enthusiastic support from our leading artists. The event will forward the museum’s goal of continuing and expanding its work in larger facilities as part of the new IfCH, while offering easier public access in a fantastic new building.”

The auction will take place at the end of the party, at approximately 10pm on Saturday 16th September. For those who can’t attend the dinner it is still possible to bid in the auction via email. View the objects online at www.ucl.ac.uk/FriendsofPetrie and follow the auction link.

Notes for Editors

1. The auction will start at 10pm on Saturday 16th September, at UCL South Cloisters, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1.

2. Media wishing to either attend the Egyptian Fantasia should contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL media relations office, on 0207 679 9728 or d.fourniol@ucl.ac.uk.

3. Individuals wishing to buy tickets for the Fantasia or with enquiries about the auction process should contact Jan Picton on 07761 823129 or j.picton@ucl.ac.uk.

4. Images of the items to be auctioned as well as of pieces within the Petrie Museum are available from the UCL media relations office.