Showing results 1 - 12 of 84 for the tag: Guardian.

October 27, 2014

Expropriation of artefacts as a demonstration of power

Posted at 9:55 pm in Similar cases

This article is prompted by the current state of affairs in Iraq & Syria, where ISIS fighters are systematically destroying heritage from cultures that do not fit entirely into their worldview. This is not a new approach however & has been going on for as long as people can remember. The means & the stated aims might vary, but the end result – denigration of the culture of the local population – is invariably the outcome.

The empty seat once occupied by the Bamiyan Buddhas before they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban

The empty seat once occupied by the Bamiyan Buddhas before they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban

From:
Guardian

If great architecture belongs to humanity, do we have a responsibility to save it in wartimes?
Jeff Sparrow
Tuesday 7 October 2014 03.25 BST

The lands of Syria and Iraq gave rise to some the oldest societies we know: the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Parthians, the Romans and many others. Traces of all of these peoples remain in archeological sites of the utmost significance.

And now they’re being destroyed.

A fortnight ago, satellite imagery revealed the cultural effects of Syria’s civil war. “The buildings of Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, has suffered extensive damage,” explained Archaeology magazine. “The ancient city of Bosra, the ancient site of Palmyra, the ancient villages of Northern Syria, and the castles Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din have all been damaged by mortar impacts and military activity.”
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October 26, 2014

Greek government seeks legal guidance on Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 10:41 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

To anyone reading the news over the last couple of weeks, it can not have escaped their attention that a team of lawyers (namely, Professor Norman Palmer, Geoffrey Robertson QC & Amal Clooney nee Alamudin (wife of George) have visited Athens to discuss the Parthenon Sculptures. They were also accompanied by David Hill, the chair of the International Association of the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

Most of the press attention on the story has been because of the inclusion of Amal Clooney in the team. I can categorically state here though that she has had a long running interest in the case. Documents prepared in early 2011 for discussions with the Greek Government (which I was present at) bear her name at the end.

Much has been made in the press of how she will solve the issue – which I’m sure she would be the first to admit is complete nonsense. It is a long and complex dispute & however it is finally resolved, I don’t think it would be possible to assign all the success to a single individual. That said however, she has had a remarkable effect in lifting the issue from one discussed by academics and the broadsheet press, into one that every newspaper is talking about. The effects from a PR point of view can not be under-estimated & far more people in Britain now know what the Parthenon Marbles are compared to two weeks ago. Furthermore, the media wants to support winners – in the battle of the establishment, versus a famous film star & his highly intelligent, glamorous wife, many tend to take a different view to if it was portrayed as a cause only of real interest to Greeks & left leaning intellectuals.

I will write more about the specifics of legal action later & what was actually said after the meetings, but first of all, here is the key press coverage from their visit.

David Hill, Amal Clooney & Geoffrey Robertson in Athens

David Hill, Amal Clooney & Geoffrey Robertson in Athens

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Eminent lawyers to advise Greek PM on Parthenon Marbles
Saturday October 11, 2014

Rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney and her eminent colleague Geoffrey Robertson are due in Athens on Monday for talks with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras which are expected to focus on legal arguments Greece can use in its bid to retrieve the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum.

The British-based, Lebanese-born lawyer, who recently made headlines by marrying American actor George Clooney, and her senior colleague Robertson are due to stay in Athens through Thursday, according to the London-based Doughty Street Chambers legal firm. The barristers, who are also to meet with Culture Minister Costas Tasoulas during their stay, were first asked to provide advice to Athens in 2011.
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September 18, 2014

The impact of Scottish independence on the British Museum

Posted at 12:46 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This article was published some time ago, but its content is still relevant today.

Everyone reading this weebsite hopefully realises that the so called Elgin Marbles were not from Elgin, nor did they ever pass through Scotland to the best of my knowledge. The fact remains though, that they were brought to the UK by a Scotsman, although subsequently purchased off him by the British Government. Whilst they might not be under contention in Scotland’s independence debate, many of the other artefacts may well be more closely tied to Scotland than to Britain.

Further to this, the British Museum is a national museum for the whole of the UK – if a country was to split from the union, would they then be entitled to a percentage share of all the artefacts in the collection.

Neil MacGregor refuses to answer any of these questions, saying that they will be considered as & when the issue becomes real for them.

Lewis Chessmen - discovered in Scotland, but many of them are now in the British Museum

Lewis Chessmen – discovered in Scotland, but many of them are now in the British Museum

From:
Guardian

What would be the implications for the British Museum if Scotland voted for independence?
If Scotland became independent after 2014, the British Museum would be presented with an “existential question”, according to its director Neil MacGregor
Tuesday 25 June 2013

“Let’s jump off that bridge when we get to it,” said Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, when pressed on the putative future of the institution were Scotland to become independent.

The question was raised at a British Museum press conference today not by a journalist, but, intriguingly, by Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary under three prime ministers and once the most powerful civil servant in the land.
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August 28, 2014

Parthenon Marbles should return, because of their beauty

Posted at 12:43 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Jonathan Jones argues persuasively in the Guardian, that the Marbles should eb returned. Key to his reasoning is the matter of context, something that I have often argued about previously. No matter what the British Msueum says, it is impossible to see the Marbles in the same way in the British Museum as it would be in the Acropolis Museum, within sight of the Parthenon.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Guardian

18th August 2014
Jonathan Jones
The Parthenon marbles are the world’s most beautiful art – and that’s why we should give them back
These consummately beautiful sculptures demand a proper setting – and a trip to Athens has convinced me the Acropolis Museum is that place

What can you do with the world’s most beautiful art? Where does it belong? How should it be cared for and displayed?

The art in question is the array of sculpture created in Athens in the 5th century BC to decorate the Parthenon, the temple to Athena that still, today, dominates the skyline of the Greek capital.
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March 24, 2014

UK urged to sign UNESCO treaty on underwater heritage

Posted at 2:01 pm in Similar cases

Often we can learn far more from underwater heritage than from excavations on land, because many items can be better preserved by the immersion in water. On the other hand though, their location away from public view means that they are ideal targets for looters & organised excavations by commercial interests (I’m looking at you Odyssey Marine). Particularly for ship wrecks in international waters, the laws are less clear cut, over who owns the treasure discovered on board them.

I’m particularly interested in this subject, because there are at least two shipwrecks off Greece, the Mentor & the Cambria, that play a part n the story of the Parthenon Marbles.

Now, archaeologists are urging the UK to ratify the 2001 Unesco convention on the protection of the underwater cultural heritage. I think that this is a great aim, although seeing Britains failure so far to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, I’m not holding my breath.

The wreck of the SS Gairsoppa off Galway

The wreck of the SS Gairsoppa off Galway

From:
Guardian

Britain urged to sign up to shipwreck treaty to protect underwater heritage
Dalya Alberge
The Observer, Sunday 23 March 2014

Britain’s rich maritime legacy is under threat from commercial treasure hunters who are accused by experts of plundering and destroying the nation’s underwater heritage.

A group of leading archaeologists and historians warn that unless the government intervenes to protect scores of historically significant wrecks lying beyond the country’s territorial waters, sites including the graves of those lost at sea could be exploited and lost for good.
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February 17, 2014

Guardian Poll shows that more than 17 out of every 20 people support return of Marbles

Posted at 12:17 am in Elgin Marbles

There have been many polls about the Parthenon Marbles in recent years and only a few have shows anything other than a high level of support for their return. The Guardian recently ran a poll, following the publicity from George Clooney’s statements about the sculptures.

The results speak for themselves – but the end of the two day poll, the web page attracted over 2,500 comments, and the end result of the poll itself showed that 88% of those who took part were in favour of the sculptures being returned. Politicians have a tendency to state that the marbles are a complex issue & that the country is deeply divided over them – the reality though is that nearly everyone supports return – so why can’t they listen to this & respond sensibly to it, by entering into serious negotiations to resolve it?

88% favour returning Parthenon Sculptures

88% favour returning Parthenon Sculptures

From:
Guardian

Wednesday 12 February 2014 11.50 GMT
Is George Clooney correct? Should Britain return the Parthenon marbles?

While promoting his new film Monuments Men, about returning art taken by the Nazis to its rightful owners, George Clooney has said that the UK should give back the Parthenon marbles to Greece. Are you with him?

Should Britain return the Parthenon marbles to Greece?
88% – Yes
12% – No

February 11, 2014

Bill Murray & Matt Damon also support Marbles return

Posted at 10:57 pm in Elgin Marbles

George Clooney has today re-stated his comments made a few days ago about the return of the Parthenon Marbles. This is in part prompted by the response by John Whittingdale of the DCMS Select Committee, who implied that being from the US, rather than the UK, Clooney probably did not know what he was talking about & did not fully understand the issue.

Today, Clooney’s support was also echoed by two of the other stars of the film – Bill Murray & Matt Damon, who came out in support of the issue at today’s press conference, where Clooney remarked that the subject was something that needed an open discussion.

An open discussion (or indeed any form of discussion) is something that campaigners have encouraged the British Museum to take part in for years. At present, it continues to issue press releases, or ignore the issue & hope it will disappear, while what is needed is a proper attempt by all parties to tackle the issue – something that the currently proposed UNESCO mediation process is intended to achieve.

In an issue, where in the past many museum professionals have spoken out in support of return, only to later backtrack, it is great that Clooney has taken the time to read up some more about the issue & to double check that his understanding of the facts was correct, before then re-stating that he still believes exactly what he said previously.

Finally, there is a peculiar response from the shadow culture minister, Helen Goodman, at the end of the Article, where she says: “How would George Clooney feel if he could only act in American films shown in the US?” If anybody can explain to me what on earth she is on about here, I’d love to have this point clarified.

Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and George Clooney

Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and George Clooney

From:
Guardian

George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon back return of Elgin marbles
Hollywood actors say Greek sculptures have had a “very nice stay” in Britain but should be returned
Mark Brown and Helena Smith in Athens
The Guardian, Tuesday 11 February 2014 20.44 GMT

They came to promote a film showing how millions of artworks were rescued and returned to their rightful owners after plunder by the Nazis. But George Clooney, Bill Murray and Matt Damon left implying that Britain, too, needed to have a long, hard, look at itself.

The Hollywood actors had become embroiled in one of the fiercest of all heritage controversies: should the Elgin marbles, removed from the Parthenon 200 years ago, be housed in London or in Athens?
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George Clooney on the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:02 pm in Elgin Marbles

More coverage of George Clooney’s statements about the Parthenon Marbles & how he believes that they should be returned to Greece.

George Clooney

George Clooney

From:
Guardian

George Clooney backs return of Parthenon Marbles to Greece
Actor says it would be “very nice” if the British Museum reptriates ancient frieze removed by Lord Elgin in 19th century
Maev Kennedy
The Guardian, Sunday 9 February 2014 20.16 GMT

George Clooney has strolled into one of the most bitter and longest-running controversies in the heritage world, saying it would be “very nice” if the British Museum sent the Parthenon Marbles back to Greece.

Clooney, at the Berlin Film Festival promoting The Monuments Men, the story of an Allied team trying to save artefacts from the Nazis, was asked by a Greek reporter whether Britain should return the Marbles.
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March 11, 2013

British Museum reunifies sculptued ancient marble panel pieces – perhaps the Parthenon Marbles next?

Posted at 1:41 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Museum is proud of its current exhibition off artefacts from the town of Herculaneum (and rightly so – from all the reviews I’ve seen, it is an amazing exhibition, including many items that have never been on public display before.

The interesting story though, is one of joining together pieces of a panel of carved marble – that have been separate since the time of the eruption of Vesuvius. Surely if they see the benefits in doing this with one panel, they can understand why the same should be done with far larger numbers of panels – from the Parthenon Frieze?

From:
Guardian

British Museum reunites Roman marble panels split for 2,000 years
Maev Kennedy
Sunday 10 March 2013 19.27 GMT

Shimmering as if still lit by the Mediterranean sun, two spectacular Roman marble panels have been reunited at the British Museum for the first time in almost 2,000 years.

Both come from a seaside mansion in Herculaneum, the town overwhelmed by a torrent of boiling mud from Vesuvius, when the wind changed direction 12 hours after Pompeii had already choked to death. They will be seen in the most eagerly awaited archaeological exhibition in decades, on life and death in the Roman towns when it opens at the museum later this month.
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March 6, 2013

Turkey versus the Met – challenging the Universal Museum

Posted at 4:48 pm in Similar cases

While many disagree with the concept of the Universal Museum, without an international legal framework in place, few challenges relating to pre-1970 acquisitions by such museums have yet been successful. The odd exceptions to this involve items such as Nazi loot, which are covered by different national laws in many countries.

Now, Turkey is putting pressure on the Met – not on recently acquired artefacts, but on items which left Turkey long before the 1970 cut off date. It will be interesting to see how much success they have with this – threats to withdraw cooperation have been criticised by the museums as blackmail – but it still represents a clear obstacle to the museums that must be negotiated around.

From:
Guardian

Turkey’s restitution dispute with the Met challenges the ‘universal museum’
Turkey is flexing its cultural, as well as its economic and military muscles. But objects of art outlive the ambitions of nation states
Jason Farago
Sunday 7 October 2012 14.00 BST

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, like most institutions of its size in the US and Europe, has seen its fair share of lawsuits and controversies surrounding its collection. It returned nearly two dozen antiquities to Italy in 2006, as well as work acquired via Nazi looting.

But now the Met is facing a very different kind of restitution battle. The Turkish government is insisting it is the rightful owner of 18 objects from the collection of Norbert Schimmel, a Met trustee and one of the last century’s most astute collectors of Mediterranean antiquities.
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February 25, 2013

Do the Londoners upset about the missing Banksy consider how Greece feels about the Parthenon Marbles?

Posted at 2:14 pm in Similar cases

The story of the Banksy artwork that disappeared from a wall in London has reached some sort of conclusion, with the news that the auction is no cancelled. It is great to see people getting so enthusiastic about preserving local artwork, but do the people whose protests stopped this auction ever consider how the original owners of many of the disputed artefacts in Britain’s museums feel?

If we consider the circumstances, the missing Banksy is a very weak case – there is nothng to indicate that it was not the owner of the wall who was selling it. Or that he had a right to do whatever he wanted to with this wall.

In term of the artwork, it could be argued that it was site specific – but only to the extent that Banksy had chosen that wall for it. realistically, it could have been applied equally well in many other locations. Furthermore, consider the duration that the artwork existed in this location for – only a matter of months. If this is contrasted to the Parthenon Marbles, they were located in-situ for over two millenia, and were designed specifically with that location in mind – to the extent that they formed an integral part of the building that they were on – they could not be removed without destroying parts of the building.

Stopping this auction & enriching the streets of the borough of Haringey might be a good cause – but the people supporting it really ought to think about the many far more important cases that Britain’s museums try & brush off as unimportant.

Interestingly, a new artwork has already appeared on the wall that the Banksy has been removed from – so restoring it is not possible without destroying another piece of art…

From:
Guardian

Banksy mural: I’m being scapegoated, says Miami art dealer
Richard Luscombe in Miami
Friday 22 February 2013 15.47 GMT

The owner of a Florida art house handling the controversial auction of a Banksy mural prised from a north London wall has spoken out to claim he is being unfairly scapegoated, and insists the sale is legal and will take place.

Slave Labour, a spray painting depicting a barefooted boy making Union Jack bunting in a sewing machine, by the celebrated street artist Banksy, was removed from the wall of a Poundland shop in north London last week under mysterious circumstances. As local authorities, residents and the shop’s owner have denied all knowledge, protests from UK authorities have turned to the Miami auctioneer.
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February 21, 2013

David Cameron argues against returnism, stating that he does not support return of Parthenon Sculptures

Posted at 2:50 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

British Prime Minister, David Cameron had already indicated in 2010, that he had no interest in considering the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India. During his current visit to the country, he has once again re-iterated his point – but this time extended it to cover other cases such as the Parthenon Marbles (although it is not the first time he has mentioned his views on that case either).

Taking this approach is a great shame. He wants to encourage greater trade links with India, and he has made limited apologies for some of the worst atrocities of colonial rule, but at the same time, his actions suggest that he still believes we are in the age of empire – that Britain can lay down the way problems are to be dealt with & that everyone else had to just buy into it, without any real option to put their point of view across properly.

He argues that the British Museum is already linking up with other museums around the world, but whenever this has taken place, it is very much the British Museum that sets the terms of how the relationship will operate – and in most cases is created to promote a two way traffic (i.e. to enrich the permanent collection in London with high quality temporary loans). Any reciprocal loans are something that they accept as part of some deal, yet it rarely feels as though they are a driving factor.

Cameron talks of returnism – labeling complex cases as though they are all basically the same & can be dealt with by a short comment, whereas the reality is that each case is very different. There is a huge range between cases, from those strong restitution cases where there is a clear argument for return & relatively weak ones, where for most people, the balance might sway in favour of them being retained, perhaps because their original purchase was legitimately made, or perhaps because of when / how they were taken etc.

Certain sectors of Britain’s ruling classes need to wake up to the fact that we no longer have an empire & that times have changed – we might have once led the world, but dragging our heels in the attempts to cling onto the past will be of no help in trying to regain this position.

From:
Kathimerini (English Edition)

Thursday February 21, 2013
Cameron rules out return of Parthenon marbles

British Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out the return of the so-called Elgin marbles to Greece.

Speaking from India, where he is on an official visit, on Thursday the Tory leader turned down requests for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to Britain’s former colony saying he did not believe in “returnism.”
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