The politics of Displacement and Migration: A Dialogue between Olu Oguibe’s Obelisk in Kassel Germany and the Ancient Egyptian Obelisks transplanted to Europe in the 19th Century by Masimba Hwati.
This article is an insight into The Monument to Refugees Strangers is a 54-ft concrete monument made by the artist Oguibe commissioned at Documenta 14 in 2017 in the city of Kassel, Germany. The artist’s choice to use the potent form of the Obelisk was not only a charge of historical and political relevance but an extremely poignant gesture in a period were migration and displacement politics are critical topics in Europe and around the world.
There seems to be metaphoric links between political and cultural circumstances around Olu Oguibe’s 2017 controversial Obelisk in Kassel Germany and those that characterize the Montecitorio Obelisk of Ancient Egypt, which is the Obelisk of Pharaoh Psammetichus II (595-589 BC). This monument was transplanted to Rome in 10 BC by Emperor Augustus Caesar and was placed in Campus Martius to act as the gnomon of the Solarium Augusti This Ancient Egyptian relic is now in the Piazza Montecitorio. To date there are eight Ancient Egyptian Obelisks in Rome a number of them seized as trophies of conquest by Rome from Egypt. In this article, I focus on referencing the Montecetorio Obelisk and the trio known as Cleopatra’s needles in relation to Olu Oguibe’s Monument to Refugees and Strangers.