Museum Security Network

Kwame Opoku – DEMOCRATIZATION THROUGH VANDALISM: NEW ANSWER TO DEMANDS FOR RESTITUTION OF CULTURAL ARTEFACTS?

“You must understand what the Parthenon Marbles mean to us. They are our pride. They are our sacrifices. They are the supreme symbol of nobility. They are a tribute to democratic philosophy. They are our aspiration and our name. They are the essence of Greekness”.

Melina Mercouri (1)
After a long period of studying the question of restitution of cultural artefacts, I thought I had heard all the arguments that could be advanced for or againstrestitution. However, I received a jolt of surprise when I saw an article by Michael Kimmelman entitled “Who Draws the Borders of Culture?” in which, among other contestable statements, he wrote concerning the dismemberment of the Parthenon and its scattering outside Greece, the following:
“Over the centuries, meanwhile, bits and pieces of the Parthenon have ended up in six different countries, in the way that countless altars and other works of art have been split up and dispersed among private collectors and museums here and there. To the Greeks the Parthenon marbles may be a singular cause, but they’re like plenty of other works that have been broken up and disseminated. The effect of this vandalism on the education and enlightenment of people in all the various places where the dismembered works have landed has been in many ways democratizing.” (2)

READ FULL TEXT AT: http://www.museum-security.org/opoku_vandalism.htm

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