“Marching Women” is a mural which consists of two main components, “women in the funeral march” and “women climb the ladder” . This work is based on an original image in the Ramesseum temple in West Bank of Luxor, a photo of engraved battle scenes on the Ramesseum’s First Pylon, Thebes. The Ramesseum has some of the Egyptian world’s oldest surviving pylons. A pylon, or monumental portal to an ancient Egyptian temple, usually consists of two massive upward tapering walls flanking and perpendicular to the temples entrance. Alaa Awad changed it, his painting made women instead of men apparent to the viewer. This work shows the strong role that women played in society in the past of Egypt and today. And we can see his meaning in the women’s hands—they have papyrus in their hands, this communicates the meaning of knowledge .
the tomb of Sobekhotep
The mural from the tomb of Sobekhotep (18th dynasty) got Awad into particular trouble. In painting a row of bald and bearded men praying to and making offerings to a mouse on the throne, Awad seemed to be mocking religious zealots and members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi parties. His timing was perfect; he painted the mural in late 2012, at a time when religious parties were gaining political power, a situation that generated distrust and frustration among secular protestors.
In this mural, he painted the Goddess Hathor, a goddess of love and motherhood, suckling a young and sickly boy next to scales that carried a feather on one scale and a heart being placed on the other. This is the weighing of the scale from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, where the jackal-headed god Anubis weighs the heart of the deceased against a feather. If the heart weighed heavier, the deceased is condemned to non-existence.