Aswan 17 March Midday c. 2010
mixed media clock
13 x 10 x 4.5 in
Aswan 17 March Midday is a visual narrative of the artist’s journey through Egypt. Exploration of this ancient landscape and the region’s history inspired the many elements of the work. Karina Harper combines the sophisticated beauty of Egyptian culture and the intricacy of the personal experiences found there.
The scarab beetle is a cultural symbol of Egypt, and can be found carved into many historical sites and also as an iconic souvenir. It is the symbol of Khempri, also known as the Sun God Ra, who created himself out of nothing. It is a symbol of transformation, renewal, and resurrection. These are inspirational ideas that were a large part of the artist’s life at this time.
The felucca is a single mast sailing vessel common to the Nile River. While strolling the banks of the ancient city of Aswan on the 17th of March at midday, the artist became inspired by the beauty of their shape and sketched many of these boats making their lazy journey up and down the river.
This mixed media clock is a complex sculpture that took over 300 hours to complete. The scarab’s head and legs are cast in solid bronze using the lost wax casting technique. The body is hand-carved out of padauk wood, an exotic hardwood native to Africa. This wood, which is a bright orange when first cut from the living tree, deepens to a rich dark violet over time. The scarab’s wings were hammered on the forge from flat bronze sheet, and pierced by hand. The layers of bronze at the bottom of the beetle and under the moving clock are etched to create a raised fluid texture. The clockface plates have been pierced and polished by hand. The second hand is represented by a hazy sun in bronze. The copper minute plate displays the sailing felucca. Moving slowly beneath, the silver hour plate is a liner abstracted representation of the waters of the Nile River.