DIG: A Toolkit for Talking About Egyptian-American Identity and Egyptomania
Alfa Slab One, Sathu
Box, 5 x 7 x 1 in
Card, 5 x 7 in (36 cards in each set)
Egyptomania is a term used across many disciplines to describe the fascination with all things Egyptian, and the concept was named after the French invasion and occupation of Egypt in the early 19th century. America embodied Egyptomania, and the modern consequences are easy to spot in American fashion, music, literature, architecture, art, film, politics, and religion. The Washington Monument was constructed in 1848 after an Egyptian Obelisk
to symbolize America’s supposed power and timelessness-- and, Harlem Renaissance artists used Egyptian imagery on The Crisis Magazine in 1911 to combat racist views toward Black Americans. Both of these examples are still in active use, and play a role in various cultural conversations. By looking at the two examples, it is clear that different groups use Ancient Egypt in contradictory ways. In this research-based design project, I engage graphic design as a thinking tool to explore the lasting effects and hidden consequences of American Egyptomania, and to offer strategies for facilitating dialogue and action among Egyptian-Americans.
Through in-depth interviews, ethnographic research, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and a literature review, this work set out to understand the historical and modern context of American Egyptomania, and to propose a solution that allowed the lived experiences of modern Egyptian-Americans to be centered.
The project outcome emphasizes co-creation of meaning, creativity, collaboration, and participation. I created two versions of the toolkit. One in full color, and another in monochrome. I used a Riso printer for the monochrome prints and an ink jet printer for the full color version. The toolkit includes a designed custom box, and the box template and toolkit are available for free download.