Eve Damie Fine Arts
Who Is Nefertiti?
The Reincarnations of Nefertiti Series
(2005-2009-) Series 2 in progress)
© 1998-2002 Text by Eve Damie
This series the Reincarnations of Nefertiti began in the summer of 1996 and is still in the process of growing; evolved from my Animal Ark series 1989-2002. The Animal Ark series is solely about animals with no human figuration. Concerning the evolution of my work the Nefertiti series brings forth the first human element “a female”. The Animal Ark series consists of acrylic relief-paintings that hang on the wall, except for 2 sculptures and I mobile. The Nefertiti series is my first sculptural series. It is a natural progression from creating two-dimensional assemblage wall paintings towards making sculptures.
This series has many levels of interpretation. It is an exploration in the repetition of portraiture. I have begun this series buying over 75 identical (Clones) busts* of Nefertiti- (The Found Object). Figuratively speaking, I began to unclone her because I value uniqueness. Fascinated with the structure of the bust: like a skeleton with no striking features, I saw the endless potential to dress, transform and reinvent her. In each life cycle Nefertiti’s face is transformed into a different mask, while sporting a hat of power! I have constructed fantastical, often whimsical, environments where a personal narrative emerges. Nefertiti is the deity of divine animals and often becomes one.
These busts are made of a combination of plastics. I then attach her to varies support stands in different shapes and sizes. Later I attach found objects to her head and surrounding environment, which creates a surreal sculptural assemblage. These sculptures are then treated like a painting and then painted completely with acrylics.
It is fascinating how the same structure “The Nefertiti-Bust” can be transformed over 75 different times. Each reincarnation of Nefertiti represents a life cycle. In each of her lives I am creating a unique face-mask and environment. It is interesting to see the progression of her face-mask and how they relate within the context of each sculpture in terms of ideas, symbolism, form, colour and texture. She can be seen as the Queen Goddess, Magician, Deity and Guardian of the animal realm. In each of her lives Nefertiti is the mascot of a particular animal species: zebras, horses, giraffes, elephants, dogs, cats, birds, fish, frogs, etc. Occasionally she is metamorphosed into a particular animal. Nefertiti is the female “Noah” and “Saint François D’Assise”. Call her the “Joan of Arc” fighting for the survival of the animal world. This series also explores the relationship between human and animal spirituality, portraying the human condition using animal symbolism.
I have done some historical research on Nefertiti but not much was written about her because she was a woman. During her era women were not considered important enough to write about, even if she was a queen. Also many documents were lost and erased through the passing of time. This gives me the perfect opportunity to reinvent, recreate and rediscover imaginatively what she was and what she could have been.
I am not interested in illustrating a historical narrative of Queen Nefertiti but reinterpret her utilizing the power of my imagination. Although I am inspired by some of the great mythologies and facts that surround Nefertiti’s dynasty and culture, the colours in Egyptian jewellery and sculptures especially intrigue me.
Nefertiti can now become a metaphor for all the great women in history: past, present and future, who were forgotten because of their sex. I am creating a history for her, a personal narrative where in each reincarnation she wears a different hat of protection. Her royal crown has been replaced with different surreal hats. These are symbols of a higher power and give her magical abilities. Nefertiti “The Woman” gives birth to life and naturally protects it, in particular animals within nature. Like my namesake Eve, Nefertiti is the first woman born into my Animal ark series. She is Mother Nature complete!
Here are some historical facts that I find intriguing and inspiring concerning Nefertitis life. Nefertiti was the Queen during the 18th dynasty and first wife of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV who later changed his name to Akhenaten. During his reign (1358 BC) he forbade all forms of worship except for the “SUN” which is the word “ATEN”. The royal couple became devote sun worshipers and the first and last royal heretic’s in Egyptian history. They incorporated the word sun into their names. Nefertiti changed her name to Neferneruaten-Nefertiti, which means, “Beautiful are the beauties of the sun”. Nefertiti had six daughters and after one died during childbirth Nefertiti disappears from all historical records. Nefertiti’s mummified body was never found. Some Egyptianologists claim that Nefertiti was renamed and given the title of Prince Smenkhare. It is believed that she was renamed in order for her to have the power to rule and perform rituals that were only allotted to males. As a female queen Nefertiti had no power to rule but as a Prince she did!
This series has a New Age perspective within a modern-contemporary context. Nefertiti is all women transcending through time. She has over 75 different chances to change history. Long live Nefertiti, guardian of the animal world!
Busts* (there are now 4 different generations of Nefertiti busts that I am using and photographic transfers of her Image).
(All information concerning Nefertiti’s life was taken from the book “Daughters of Isis” by Joyce Tyldesley; Penguin Books 1995).