Re-creating ancient art

By on May 14, 2009

Artist Pam Vovolo reproduces archeological works
by Martha Quetsch
Elburn artist Pam Vovolo recently went to Egypt where she enjoyed riding a camel, standing between the paws of the Sphinx, and visiting the Valley of the Golden Mummies. The real reason she was there, however, was to gather materials, information and inspiration for her art.

Vovola’s artistic aim is to create exact reproductions of archeological art from ancient tombs and temples.

“I’m trying to preserve those images to enjoy after the originals are too faded or destroyed,” Vovola said.

Archeological art reproductions can take people back in time, thousands of years, she said.

“You almost feel like you’re there, touching the real thing.”

Vovola became interested in archeological art when she was 10 years old. For the past 30 years, she has studied three forms extensively, Aboriginal, Mayan and Egyptian.

“I like that it is sacred and always has a story behind it. It was their language in the past,” Vovola said. “The images reflect their life and the afterlife.”

The Egyptian trip was the last of her research needed before applying her art-a three-dimensional medium of sculpture, painting, drawing and carving.

While in Egypt, Vovolo visited many ancient tombs and temples down the Nile River from Nubia to Cairo, and went to remote attractions as the Temple of Osiris in Abydos.

She took more than 2,000 photographs of cartouches, base reliefs, hieroglyphs and temple scenes, as part of her research.

A four-wheel drive expedition into the Great Western Desert was a highlight of her trip, she said. While in the desert, Vovolo collected geological specimens, ochre and minerals used in ancient art pigments. She will pound down some of her finds, making her own pigment to use as an authentic element in her archeological art.

Vovolo is particularly interested in pigments used in the tombs, as colors used in Egyptian art reinforce each object’s function, she said. She watched local stone masons and painters as they worked on restoring newly excavated tombs.

Vovola already has created Australian Aboriginal art, which can be seen on her website at:

Photo: Elburn artist Pam Vovolo toured many ancient temples during her recent trip to Egypt, seeing art such as these hieroglyphics for the goddess Isis. The hieroglyphics were recovered from former Philae Island, long-submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser. In the scene, Isis is holding an ankh in her left hand, symbolizing eternal life. Vovolo’s passion is ancient art, which she re-creates to preserve its images and stories for future generations. Courtesy Photo