The "other" non-renewable resource
Objects uncovered in their original contexts, properly interpreted, provide insight into the way our ancestors lived, their societies and their environments. They complete our view of ancient life and enrich our understanding on many levels. As such, antiquities comprise an essential part of our global cultural heritage.
This Earth Day, let’s also consider the other non-renewable resource: our shared cultural heritage. Once an artifact is ripped from the ground, most of the knowledge it contained is lost – forever.
Originally posted on April 22, 2010(MORE ...)
Why the looting of the National Museum of Iraq still matters
Like those Americans of my parents’ generation who can remember where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot, or of my generation who can remember their reaction to the breaking news of the September 11th attacks, the looting of the National Museum of Iraq remains, ten years later, a watershed moment for the global archaeological community and those of us who work to document and mitigate the illicit antiquities trade. The scale of the plunder, and its seemingly preventable nature, shocked everyone who witnessed it or viewed the frantic efforts of those tasked with dealing with the aftermath. For me, it was troubling enough to hear, and then have confirmed, that the United States was once again going to war in the Middle East, and for reasons that many suspected were false even at the time they were being announced. Given that I was about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona at ...(MORE ...)
Long Walks in the Museum
I met Cindy Ho when she was getting SAFE off the ground 10 years ago. At that time I was involved in the advertising industry as a creative technician, and beginning to question its ethical environment. It was exciting to volunteer for SAFE. One of the reasons SAFE was (and is) exciting is its explicit use of rhetorical technique to initiate conversations around shared cultural concerns.
As an artist whose concerns lie in the social environment, I am interested in the present moment. However, it is in few places more clear that the present moment is linked to historical circumstance than in a museum. How are we personally connected, or not connected to cultural lineage on display? What are the quotidian conversations associated with exceptional objects? And how are they affected by the architecture that houses them, the other people that share the space?
This weekend I am organizing a public project called Long Walks in the Museum that positions people in relation to art. It is a sequence of scheduled one-on-one walks that pass through galleries designated “Egyptian”, “American”, “Medieval”, “European”, “African/Oceanic/American”, and “Greek” in one of the preeminent cultural institutions of New York City.
This is the third in a series of one-on-one walks that ask two strangers to navigate interpersonal and real space together, done is association with the Flux Factory and the Walk Exchange. Several appointments are still open, and can be arranged by calling 917-300-9521.(MORE ...)
SAFE kickstarts global awareness campaign with appreciation
Beginning today, on the 10th anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum, SAFE will observe The Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage with a three-month global awareness campaign “10 YEARS AFTER” which focuses on our core mission: to raise public awareness about the irreversible damage that results from looting, smuggling and trading illicit antiquities.
Until July 1, we will highlight the following on our web site and social media outlets:
• the efforts of institutions and individuals dedicated to global heritage preservation; • the global concern of looting and the illicit antiquities trade; • how public awareness can contribute to the solution;
and apropos to the theme of 10th anniversary…
• the many ways you participated in our Global Candlelight Vigil around the world, which began in 2007 with Dr. Donny George Youkhanna’s call to action.(MORE ...)
SAFE announces Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage
Marking the 10th anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum, SAFE launches The Donny George Candlelight Vigil for Global Heritage and invites all citizens to light a candle and share their remembrances and thoughts in any language on the current situation, contemplate the future, and take the opportunity to announce their related projects and programs in preserving the future of our past.
These comments and reflections will be posted on SAFE’s web site beginning April 10 and also the Vigil page on Facebook, and other social media outlets. Furthering our commitment to raising public awareness about the global concern of looting and the illicit antiquities trade, SAFE aims to gather these reflections in a commemorative booklet as a public statement of concern, and as a tribute to all those who safeguard the future of our past.
SAFE initiated the Global Candlelight Vigil for the Iraq Museum with Dr. Donny George Youkhanna in 2007 to commemorate the looting of the Museum which became the impetus for the founding of the organization. Institutions and individuals from around the world hosted and attended lectures and candle-lighting ceremonies. A video of these events was compiled to mark the 5th anniversary. In 2011, the Vigil was renamed to honor the memory of Dr. Youkhanna.(MORE ...)