Greece: Free our marbles from British Museum’s ‘murky prison’

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A man looks at the Parthenon Marbles, a collection of sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, on show at the British Museum in London. (Reuters)
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The 5th Century B.C. Parthenon temple atop the ancient Acropolis hill, while in the background ferries sale in the Saronic golf, in Athens. (AP Photo)
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Tourists take a picture in front of the temple of the Parthenon atop the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. (Reuters)
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A man looks at exhibits at the Parthenon Hall of the Acropolis museum in Athens, Greece. (Reuters)
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A man looks at the Parthenon Marbles, a collection of sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles, on show at the British Museum in London. (Reuters)
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Tourists are silhouetted as they walk inside the Acropolis Museum with the temple of Parthenon in the background in Athens. (Reuters)
Updated 15 April 2019

Greece: Free our marbles from British Museum’s ‘murky prison’

  • President Prokopis Pavlopoulos: Let the British Museum come here and make the comparison between this (Acropolis) museum of light and the murky, if I may say, prison of the British Museum
  • Britain’s Lord Elgin removed the 2,500-year-old sculptures from the Acropolis temple in Athens during a period when Greece was under Ottoman rule

ATHENS: Greece’s president called on Monday for Britain to free the Parthenon Marbles from the “murky prison” of its national museum, upping the rhetoric in a near 200-year-old campaign for the sculptures’ return.
President Prokopis Pavlopoulos spoke at Athens’ own glass-fronted Acropolis Museum, which campaigners hope will one day house the classical reliefs and figures taken by a British diplomat in the early nineteenth century.
“Let the British Museum come here and make the comparison between this (Acropolis) museum of light and the murky, if I may say, prison of the British Museum where the Parthenon Marbles are held as trophies,” Pavlopoulos said.
There was no immediate response from the British Museum.
Britain’s Lord Elgin removed the 2,500-year-old sculptures from the Acropolis temple in Athens during a period when Greece was under Ottoman rule.
They have been placed in a gallery inside the British Museum in London, lit by a long skylight.
Greece has repeatedly requested their return since its independence in 1832, and stepped up its campaign in 2009 when it opened its new museum at the foot of the Acropolis hill.
That building holds the sculptures that Elgin left behind alongside plaster casts of the missing pieces, lit by the sun coming through a glass wall looking over the original site.
“This museum can host the Marbles,” Pavlopoulos said. “We are fighting a holy battle for a monument which is unique.”
The British Museum has refused to return the sculptures, saying they were acquired by Elgin under a legal contract with the Ottoman empire.
The museum and other British institutions have also resisted other repatriation campaigns citing legislation preventing them from breaking up collections and arguing that they can preserve items and present them to an international audience.


Dubai Culture Authority, Art Dubai Group launch #DubaiIDEATHON to combat pandemic’s impact on arts sector

The pandemic is affecting the local arts and culture sector in the UAE. (Shutterstock)
Updated 31 March 2020

Dubai Culture Authority, Art Dubai Group launch #DubaiIDEATHON to combat pandemic’s impact on arts sector

DUBAI: The UAE’s cultural sector is among the many industries being affected by the coronavirus pandemic spreading throughout the globe. In addition to the threat to public health, the economic and social disruption brought on by the infectious disease threatens the long-term livelihoods and wellbeing of the hundreds of SMEs and freelancers that make up a vast portion of the country’s cultural and creative sectors.

With this in mind, the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority teamed up with the Art Dubai Group, to launch #DubaiIDEATHON, a call for collective action to ideate possible solutions to support the cultural industries in response to the coronavirus crisis.

How it works is, after reading the open call, the public is invited to submit their ideas to address challenges relating to key issues such as financial stability and employee protection, propose solutions to tackle these challenges and explore new possibilities via an online workshops.

Six ideation sessions with the participants of the Open Call will be organized based on the common challenges, and facilitated by specialized design-thinking experts, concluding in ready-to-implement proposals that will be shared with relevant public, private and non-profit stakeholders. Finally, proposed solutions will be put to industry experts to help devise implementation strategies.

Organizers have identified six challenges for participants to respond to: What solutions could be created to protect jobs and employees during crisis?; How can the creative community self-organize? And what kind of public-private collaborations can we explore?; How can companies start reducing their fixed costs?; How can we improve company-client relationships and collaborations?; How can we maintain the flow of the supply chains? And, finally, are businesses able to generate revenue from digital shifts?

The Dubai Ideathon, which was facilitated by design agency Atolye’s Onat Vural and Leen Sadder, opens for receiving ideas on April 2.