Having paid exorbitant entry fees, my wife, myself and a couple of friends visited the Tutankhamun Exhibition of Tomb Treasures at the Saatchi Gallery, off London’s Kings Road.
A certain gloom began as we walked along Kings Road to get to the Duke of York’s Barracks, now purloined and converted into the Saatchi Gallery. All three of these names are seminal to what I shall write below.
First a bit of history: In my days as one of the industry’s leading photographers in the heady 70s/80s and early 90s, The Kings Road was one of those focal points of rebellion against society, a fashionable trend setting alternative to the elite’s programming and containment of the masses. Its iconic position in the history of this country is well established. Walking down what can only be described as a ghostly image of its former self, sadness and loss flooded memories of bygone revolution, glory, excess and outright fun and halcyon days and nights.
Entering the Saatchi Gallery it was immediately noticeable how the Saatchi curse reigned omnipotent. All the talk of the curse of the Pharaohs, unleashed when the grave robbers of antiquities opened Tut’s tomb, seems to have morphed into this present incarnation.
More history: Saatchi and Saatchi in its heyday was the creative go-to agency for the great and good corporate messaging needed to convince the gullible mind, through the manipulative dark arts of advertising and marketing. Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative Party, British Airways, Toyota amongst their clients. Awards, rapturous adoration and fawning praise rained down on these two, frankly, wide boys of the biz. Growth was never organic but mostly gained from predatory take overs. The archetypes of rampant banksterism and corporate criminality, aka great business acumen!
As one who sought the great campaigns, Saatchis would have been a go-to appointment. Even in my relatively innocent days I smelled bullshit, bravado and self serving ingratiation. When approached to work for them I refused, to the consternation of my peers. I had seen behind the curtain and it stank. Like Conde Nast, the publishers of Vogue et al, they expected you to worship the ground they paid exorbitant rental for and work for peanuts. Many did under the delusional false flag they would advance their profiles. A few did and that only increased the lie association and awards. Awards would merely put saccharin substance to a reputation.
In short, they successfully sold their BS and self serving attributes raking in huge fees from a sycophantic, money no object client base, never really sharing that down to either the majority of creatives in house or those bought in through commission.
The ticket prices for this exhibition showed me their talent for self serving greed, excessive abuse of public gullibility has not waned. More so, because of today’s control of mental faculties, or more likely the lack of them, from the general public. Their superlative marketing skills (manipulations), allowed Saatchi to cream from the many visitors tickets, handheld talk thru/translators, the café and gift shops et al.
So all this aside, what about the contents of the exhibition?
It was hyped as original pieces from the tomb and times of King Tut. Some of the most meaningful, significant artefacts. Transparently missing were the famous headgear and other promised displays. Wandering around the various galleries I noticed immediately, starting with a promotional film, selling grave robber Carter’s exploits and potted Egyptian history lesson, this was just another advertising ‘hit’ by Saatchi, on behalf of their purse and the continued false history storyline we have been fed since 19th century Egypt mania began.
It got no better. The so called ‘artefacts’ may have looked the part and certainly awed many trooping round, sticking their noses to glass, snapping off handheld memories, destined to the hollow graveyard of social media. These pieces had zero energetic connection factor. What do I mean by that?
On my several visits to Egypt, to tombs, buildings and the internal parts of pyramids both publicly accessible and private, the immense connection is palpable. Without touching, yet in the presence within these places and by their contents, be it the Valley of the Kings, Giza, Sakkara, Luxor or Abydos, to name a few, one felt the magnificence, the awe, magic and wonder. It was often a truly a time travel experience of wonder. Often a download of information from some parts mentally received would be verified later by those whose charge it was to know the history, acknowledge specific events and on site indigenous archeologists. Information I hasten to add neither myself nor others were privy to till then. In short, you truly felt a connectivity to the past.
Back in the gallery, it was like a meeting with the dead – full stop. Similar to a visit in the Toronto Science Museum in the seventies, where they had a ‘silent room’ The experience of which was to sense absolutely nothing – except the pain felt when total silence is experienced. In the Saatchi Gallery it was precisely that yet a pain garnered from a sense of deep fraud.
I felt maybe it was me. Chatting with a couple of ladies from Leeds in the cafe, who had ransomed their meagre pensions to witness this ‘spectacle’ their feelings mirrored mine completely. One remarked as to whether they were the real deal. I suggested they might have a point, though I was in no way able to prove my feelings. All I said was that it was not beyond Saatchi to employ fakery as they had in earlier years been adept at and richly rewarded for it.
Our friends and my wife later felt precisely the same, about the authenticity of the pieces. I have to add that these three have great acuity to this sort of energetic intuitive interaction.
In mitigation perhaps it might have been the hermetically sealed cases these objects were bound, mummified, in. On that point one friend assured me this would not cause a blanket and lock down of ‘energetic’ connectivity. Perhaps it may be unfair to lay total blame at the feet of Saatchi. Having derived from antiquities held by museums outside Egypt, these may have been replicas all along. Maybe the Egyptians, British, French, whoever, conspired to never show the real things from the outset. Such are the thoughts of one who has witnessed too much trouncing and traducing from the powers that be, in hoodwinking people into believing whatever they wish them to believe. I shall leave all this for the reader to make their own mind up, and resist playing the conspiracy charge.
One thing I have experienced, when visiting over the decades sacred places, history and magnificence of an era in human existence, is to wonder how much of its true nature has been excluded, covered up from our learning, absorbing and benefiting, in order that empire maintains their vice of a reality of their own creation – that of the victor’s history. It is mightily apparent this process was alive and well throughout the Pharaonic dynasties. Just notice how many grand statues and edifices of a previous reign have been wilfully desecrated to disempower what went before.
Finally the cold dank hand of deception, manipulation and fakery as we exited the exhibition was palpable. I commented perhaps all we had picked up on and much of the energy of the exhibits on show was kindled by the fact the building itself was, until recently, the HQ for the Duke of Yorks regiment. The war machine’s central axis housing both those offered up as cannon fodder and led, from behind, by generals and officers encouraging good and innocent men to their death in the name of empire and futile wars. All under the guise of a great specious cause, King and Country.
That it reflects the name of the present Duke of York, an unmitigated agent of pedophilia and bestiality is no coincidence. Representative of everything that reeks of power, corruption and division, under the guise of Great Britannia, it is saturated with the bullshit, lies and deceit emanating from the prow of this antiquated monstrosity of a vessel.
Saatchi is merely a perfumed acolyte of this perversion, getting rich on the coat tails of fawning, so called creativity and art. Nearby, on the walk up Kings Road we witnessed a virulent example of his greed seeking, foul-charactered family. They own a very substantial house next to a client of my friend. When this individual wished to ‘clear’ their property of ‘nanky’ energies and realign their property to balance, an attritional amount of resistance, abuse and venom from their Saatchi neighbour made it very clear arrogance, pomposity and self serving interests projected from this multi-millionaired individual, was all that mattered. Not that I needed confirmation of any of that. Old news!
Saatchi may be renowned for ‘discovering’ new artistic talent, being a philanthropic essential in today’s virtual signalling market, yet truth be told Saatchi philanthropy is utterly self serving. I know this in microcosm, from using their selling base for my artistic works. That may sound contraindicative, however contrary to them abusing creatives in years gone by, I use their standing on my own terms, not theirs. In this way I am able to service my own integrity of output, as well as using their platforms. A good example as to how in a small way we can control and keep some measure balance, in relation to these oft out of control forces.
That the artefacts, real or copies are returning to their origins is good to know. What we may never know is – were we sold a pup from start to finish? As with the truth about history, we may never know for certain, yet as with everything, each action is indicative of the degree of leaning towards deception or veracity. That is always under our individual control both in art and life.
May we encourage ourselves towards integrity, truth and greater decency of each to all. That way we drown out, like the Red Sea did to the pursuing armies of Pharaoh, the tyrants’ overlording in our midst. Remember all that glitters is not gold.
©2020 – Jonathan Trapman
About the Author:
Jonathan L. Trapman
Author and photographer writing since age 9, photographing since age 10. A professional career as photojournalist, working for top titles in Fleet Street (London Times, Daily Express and very short, boring stint with the Sun newspaper) swiftly exposes him to propaganda and half truths demanded from photo/journalists of the ‘70s and 80s.
Deciding his soul to be worth more than shekels earned from the news rooms of corporate cronyism, went on to become one of the industry’s foremost photographers. Enjoyed getting to know the world, its peoples and a far wider vision of life on earth on others’ behalf and at others’ expense. Appeared on TV and radio including BBC, France Inter and online radio.
Invited to speak at creative and literary conferences across the globe having in early 2012, in partnership with his wife, accomplished the first ever English translation, in over 900 years, of 11th century Sufi founder and mystic saint Hoja Ahmed Yassawi’s Diwani Hikmet (Divine Wisdom) poetry and sacred verse. Currently working on a 7 volume opus The Freedom Cycle, Dreams and Realities being the first, now published. www.thefreedomcycle.com