Sarah Britten Art

Paintings in lipstick

A history of eggs as memes

The egg is an obvious symbol of creativity, new life and potential, so it’s hardly surprising that it should feature in myth from all corners of the globe. In my TEDxJohannesburg talk, I’ll be tracking the history of eggs from Babylonian times, through Rome and early Christians, to the Easter eggs of today.

This is my slide drawing on Babylonian imagery:

The lion, like the egg, is associated with the fertility goddess Ishtar.

Something I learned while researching the subject is the legend of the red egg. Apparently, Mary Magdalene took an egg to the tomb of Jesus after his crucifixion, and it turned red.


This is a second version of the same subject, in a very different stye.


Today, eggs have taken on a new symbolism. On Twitter, we all start out as eggs. We even speak dismissively of “eggs” – it codes for anonymity and naivity, an inability to navigate this hyperconnected world.

Since I use Twitter a creative tool, the meme is an apt one, and Twitter is completely interwoven into the fabric of my talk.

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