Icons of kemet
'Hail to you Ptah, Lord of Life of the Two Lands.
I have come before you, that I may worship you.
I am a servant who does not forget his duty
in your festivals, truly!'
-Inscription from the stela of the washerman Hepet. 13th Dynasty.
R.B. Parker. Voices From Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Middle Kingdom Writings, 128.
Since its inception in 2011 by iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa, Icons of Kemet has been a voice for devotional polytheism and the values of Kemeticism, the veneration of the Goddesses and Gods of ancient Egypt today. Part and parcel of this veneration is the establishment of sacred spaces where the Natcharu (Netjeru or Gods) may be worshiped in Their images. Such images come in many forms- both three and two-dimensional representations- and are used to draw and maintain the presences of the Gods in sacred space. Icons of Kemet was envisaged as a forum for the creation of holy images that would satisfy this need for divine representation in sacred space, while also serving as a vehicle for ritual activities and services traditional to the adoration of the Gods of Kemet.
The works promoted by Icons of Kemet are fueled by a framework of ritual activities authentic to the ancient Egyptian traditions: God-images are crafted according to a lunar schedule, with each aspect of the work being initiated at the appropriate lunar phase or festival; prayers and Utterances taken directly from the Daily Cult texts and other source texts are recited at each stage in the production of an image; pilgrimage is made with each image in progress to holy sites established in the desert landscape of the iconographer, here to receive feeding with offerings and veneration by way of traditional liturgies and acts; natural semi-precious mineral pigments, gold, platinum, precious and semi-precious stones are used in the creation of each God-image; the final act in activating a God-image occurs with the Mouth Opening Ritual conducted with the original texts and instruments made according to traditional materials and practices.
Icons of Kemet icons or God-images are not mere copies of preexisting ancient works, nor are they fantastical projections of the artist's mind. What makes the icons of Icons of Kemet unique devotional works is their following of traditional canon, iconography, and religious practices without directly copying what has been crafted before. These are masterpieces of the highest technical skill composed of the finest materials, not as works of art that express an artist's personal experiences, but as divinely possessed cult-images that serve as the focal point for a religious community's spiritual life.