The device was held for 10 days as the British embassy worked with Cairo on the matter.
“The Embassy is glad to see that Ai-Da the artist robot has now been cleared through customs,” the UK’s embassy in Cairo said in a statement.
“Customs clearance procedures can be lengthy, and are required before importation of any artworks or IT equipment.”
Aidan Meller, the robot’s creator, said customs officials had shown concern that Ai-Da’s modem and cameras could contain spy electronics.
Meller offered to remove the modem, but said the cameras were essential to Ai-Da’s ability to paint.
“I can ditch the modems, but I can’t really gouge her eyes out,” he told the Guardian.
He said the British ambassador had been “working through the night to get Ai-Da released” and that it would now be difficult to prepare the robot for the exhibition on Thursday.
Ai-Da is scheduled to be part of the first-ever exhibition of contemporary art at the 4,500-year-old Giza pyramids.
The “Forever Is Now” exhibition is to run until 7 November, featuring Ai-Da along with one of her sculptures, an interpretation of the riddle of the Sphynx in Greek mythology.
The riddle is: what goes on four feet in the morning, two feet at noon, and three feet in the evening? A human going through the stages of life, from a baby to old age using a walking stick. The robot’s interpretation of this is a sculpture of Ai-Da with three legs.
Since being completed in 2019 Ai-Da has given media interviews and displayed art at the Design Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
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