23rd session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property ICPRCP


The presentation of the Hellenic Republic on the Parthenon Sculptures at this session is outstanding. The presenters were Dr Artemis Papathanassiou and Nikolaos Stampolidis, Director of the Acropolis Museum

Dr Artemis Papathanassiou introduces the presentation. The segment addressing the issue of reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures begins at which begins at 03:19:55.

This is an excellent coverage of the issue of reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.

The UK reply begins at 03:38:34. It is quite short and demonstrates several major flaws, perhapsd even absurd statements such as these:

United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland’s (UK) Reply

The UK presentation begins with thisn untruth:

“the UK government does not own the Parthenon sculptures they were lawfully acquired under the laws pertaining at the time and legally owned by the trustees of the British Museum which is independent of government”

It then continues with the assertion that in the UK,

“unlike a number of other countries, they are not run or owned by the state. Museums are charter institutions run for the benefit of the public, the global public and are independent of the government and responsibility for each museum lies with the trustees . . .”

Now follows a contradiction. Having claimed that the British Museum is independent of government the speaker says:

“. . . the British Museum together with other national museums is prevented by law from de-accessioning objects in their collection that is removing them except in certain circumstances”

The truth is that the British Museum derives its right to operate through an Act of Parliament, specifically The British Museum Act 1963. This insistence thast it is indepent of government is a thinly disguised sleight of hand.

Then to compound the attempt at deception the speaker continues with this assertion.

“It is not for the . . UK Govt to enter into discussions on the future of the Parthenon Sculptures with the Greek Govt but I’m very keen to reiterate the . . UK Govt support for the position of the museum’s trustees & together . . . we are willing & happy to participate. . .”

What follows is a discussion with delegates from numerous countries expressing incredulity at the UK’s position, and concludes with closing statements from both Greece and the UK

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The Antiquities of Greece and World War II

As part of the Greek Festival in Sydney Dr Stavros Paspalas will be delivering a lecture on this theme Thu, 7 Apr 2022 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM AES.

Register now with Eventbrite for this free event.

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IARPS News

9 February 2022

Ceremony at the Antonino Salinas Museum in Palermo or, as the Acropolis Museum puts it: “The Acropolis Museum is traveling to Palermo”.

To watch the video, use the link:

VIDEO | Dall’acropoli di Atene al museo Salinas, arriva a Palermo la …

A very significant day for all of us, campaigning for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. In an official but very emotional ceremony, a statue of the goddess Athena of the collection of the Acropolis Museum was placed in the emblematic archaic sculptures gallery of the Regional Archaeological Museum Antonino Salinas in Palermo, Sicily, for four years, to be replaced later on by a geometric vase.

This is a happy ending, for the moment, of months long negotiations between Greece and Sicily. Celebrations started on 10 January 2022 with the return of the “Fagan fragment” for at least eight years, from the Antonino Salinas Museum in Palermo to the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Today, in return, the statue of the Acropolis Museum was presented in the Antonino Salinas Museum in presence of, from Greek side, the Hellenic Minister of Culture, Dr Lina Mendoni and the General Director of the Acropolis Museum, Professor Nikos Stampolidis, and from Italian side, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Mrs. Lucia Borgonzoni, member of the Senate of Italy, the Assessore of Cultural Heritage and Identity of Sicily, Dr Alberto Samonà, the Director of the A. Salinas Museum, Dr Caterina Greco, and the honorary president of IARPS and chair of the Italian Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Professor Louis Godart.

The late 5th century B.C. headless marble statue was discovered during excavations near the Parthenon Temple and belongs to the Acropolis Museum’s collection (inv. Acr. 3027). The statue, dated between 420-400 B.C. shows the goddess Athena bending her body as she leans on her – now lost – spear that she would have held in her left hand. She is dressed in a peplos that envelops her curves, and over this a tight aegis which passes obliquely under her left arm. On the aegis’ centre was originally a Gorgon head, probably made of metal and secured in the drills opened there.

Professor Louis Godart, honorary president of IARPS, at the Palermo ceremony

Autorità,

Come Presidente onorario del Comitato internazionale per il ritorno dei marmi di Fidia in Grecia e a nome della Rivista Archeologia Viva che sostiene incessantemente l’appello rivolto nel 1982 alla Gran Bretagna da Melina Merkouri per consentire che il Partenone, monumento simbolo di libertà e democrazia, ritrovi la sua integrità, mi è difficile nascondere la mia gratitudine e la mia emozione oggi.

Ringrazio la Sicilia, il suo Governo, l’Assessore Alberto Samonà e la Direttrice del Museo Salinas, Caterina Greco, di aver ascoltato la preghiera dei tanti che nel mondo credono nei valori promossi dagli antichi Greci, consentendo al frammento del fregio di Fidia conservato al Museo Salinas di Palermo di ritrovare la sua giusta collocazione nel nuovo museo dell’Acropoli.

Ringrazio la Grecia. Come dimostra la presenza a questa cerimonia della Ministra Lina Mendoni e del Prof. Nikos Stampolidis che hanno accompagnato a Palermo i capolavori che andranno a sostituire il piede di Artemide, il Governo greco è pronto a concedere prestiti provenienti dai suoi musei per allestire la galleria del British Museum in sostituzione delle 15 metope, 56 bassorilievi e 12 statue, strappati indegnamente al Partenone da Elgin.

In Italia, nel Palazzo del Quirinale, tra il 21 dicembre 2007 e il 2 marzo 2008, ho organizzato una grande mostra intitolata Nostoi, in ricordo del rientro in patria degli eroi greci che avevano combattuto sotto le mura di Troia, per celebrare la restituzione all’Italia di capolavori dell’arte greca, etrusca e romana da parte di vari musei statunitensi. Grazie all’azione condotta dal nostro Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, istituzioni museali che erano entrate in possesso di capolavori al termine di transazioni illegali si resero oramai conto che, nel supremo interesse dell’arte e di tutti coloro che ne sono gli amanti, era indispensabile rispettare leggi e regole precise prima di entrare in possesso di un’opera.

È con questo spirito che quattro grandi musei statunitensi hanno firmato un accordo con il nostro Ministero, accettando di restituire all’Italia centinaia di capolavori che avevano lasciato clandestinamente il nostro Paese. In cambio l’Italia, consapevole di aver trasmesso all’Europa e al mondo il messaggio civilizzatore di Atene e Roma, s’impegnò a favorire i prestiti di opere, creando così una sorta d’immenso spazio museale che vede protagonisti la nostra arte e la nostra cultura.

A questa mostra partecipò la Grecia prestando per l’occasione una splendida kore arcaica uscita clandestinamente dal territorio greco, e recuperata grazie all’intervento dei Carabinieri per la tutela del patrimonio culturale.

Le odierne Autorità greche ritengono giustamente che solo una “diplomazia culturale” come quella attuata dall’Italia negli ultimi anni possa portare alla firma di un accordo con la Gran Bretagna e il British Museum e consentire finalmente il rientro in patria dei marmi del Partenone.

I tempi per le restituzioni sono maturi. Il 28 novembre 2017 a Ouagadoudou nel Burkina Faso il Presidente Macron ha annunciato la messa in opera entro 5 anni di un programma di restituzioni ai paesi di origine del patrimonio africano presente nei musei francesi. “La gioventù africana deve avere accesso al proprio patrimonio in Africa e non più soltanto in Europa” disse il Presidente. Oggi altri Paesi come Germania e Belgio hanno deciso di restituire la memoria ai popoli spogliati ai tempi della colonizzazione. L’autorevole giornale Times di Londra ha recentemente e per la prima volta, preso posizione in favore del rientro in Grecia dei capolavori di Fidia.

Nel cielo delle notti di Atene e dell’Ellade le stelle hanno salutato la nascita della prima grande civiltà occidentale; insieme al guardiano sulla terrazza del palazzo di Micene, hanno visto giungere la torcia annunciatrice della caduta di Troia, hanno vegliato i morti di Maratona e di Salamina e hanno benedetto l’entusiasmo di Pericle e di tutti gli Ateniesi quando ricostruirono l’Acropoli. Le stesse stelle inorridite hanno visto Elgin violare la sacralità del tempio della dea e portare lontano da Atene le sculture di Fidia. Presto, mi auguro, saluteranno la riunificazione, nel nuovo splendido museo dell’Acropoli, dei capolavori che sono più che mai l’emblema della civiltà europea.

Consentendo al frammento Fagan di tornare ad Atene e raccordarsi con la statua della dea Artemide, la Sicilia e il Museo Salinas hanno indicato al mondo la strada che il British Museum dovrà seguire. A nome della cultura mondiale, di nuovo, Li ringrazio.

Louis Godart

Press releases:

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

https://www.culture.gov.gr/el/Information/SitePages/view.aspx?nID=4100

Acropolis Museum

PRESS RELEASE.docx (theacropolismuseum.gr)

https://www.thenationalherald.com/statue-of-athena-from-acropolis-museum

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IARPS News

16 January 2022

Χαμόγελα αισιοδοξίας – Θετικό κλίμα για την επιστροφή των Γλυπτών του Παρθενώνα

[Smiles of optimism – Positive climate for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures]

Prof. Louis Godart, honorary president of IARPS and chair of the Italian Committee, and Prof. Paul Cartledge, vice president of IARPS and vice chair of BCRPM, talk to Real News, explaining why the article in The Times of London constitutes a boundary-mark in the campaign for the repatriation of the classical masterpieces.

At the beginning of 2022, there are enough reasons to look at the future with optimism, they say, while Dr Lina Mendoni explains the policy of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Source: Real News

18 January 2022

Greece to step up  Parthenon marbles pressure amid signs tide is turning

Campaign for British Museum to return antiquities boosted by support from The Times newspaper.

Source: The Guardian

29 January 2022

Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador: ‘Just a little more – Let us rise just a little higher’

“ … The dismemberment of this global monument-symbol remains an open wound, a deep wound, a pressing debt, and a pending moral issue, not towards our country and Greek civilization, but towards our global civilization as a whole. … This unique power and the very substance of the monument show us the path we must follow: the path of Dialogue. … All of us must continue the struggle. History has shown that each smaller or greater contribution, every effort has played a role in moving things a little further along, making international public opinion understand that these Sculptures are not just exhibits in a museum. The Sculptures are Greece, … they form part of one of the largest monuments of humanity.”

Source: The National Herald

2 February 2022

Law, morals and the Parthenon Marbles

Writer Bruce Clark unpicks the dubious legality of Lord Elgin’s removal of the Parthenon Sculptures: Treachery, subterfuge and “a steady flow of bribes”.

Source: Greece is

4 February 2022

Don’t mistake the Ancient Greeks at the National Museum with the Parthenon Marbles

Paul Cartledge; vice president of IARPS and of the BCRPM, writes on the distinction between the exhibition “Ancient Greeks: Athletes, warriors & heroes” from the British Museum, now showing at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, and the British Museum’s controversial hold over the Parthenon Marbles.

Source: Neos Kosmos

5 February 2022

The Parthenon marbles belong in Greece – so why is restitution so hard to swallow?

Repatriating spoils of empire is suck in all manner of legal and historical impasses that preserve the status quo.

An opinion-ed by Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian’s chief culture writer.

Source: The Guardian

6 February 2022

“Libérez les marbres du Parthénon emprisonnés dans une galerie sombre et étroite du British Museum”

La question des marbres du Parthénon, sur l’Acropole d’Athènes, qui se trouvent au British Museum, à Londres, devient de plus en plus actuelle et épineuse pour les autorités britanniques. A mesure que la vague des restitutions et des échanges s’intensifie, elle conduit tous les pays qui détiennent des fragments du Parthénon à les offrir au Musée de l’Acropole, lequel, selon tous ceux qui l’ont visité, est un des plus beaux musées spécialisés au monde.

Co-signent : Hélène Ahrweiler, Louis Godart, François Roelants du Vivier, Dusan Sidjanski, Christiane Tytgat et Patricia van Gene-Saillet.

Source: Tribune Collectif – Le Monde

8 February 2022

Parthenon Marbles: The “weapon” of Greece and the “smart compromises”

Interview by Irina Korobina, president of the Russian Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Source: Greek City Times

8 February 2022

UK Parliament – House of Lords

The House of Lords discuss Boris Johnson’s article he wrote, as a student, in 1986 and where he argued in favour of the return to Greece of the stolen Parthenon marbles., even showing the way to the way to do so.

Lord Dubs asks explicitly for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, with other voices joining his too.

The debate brings nothing new: the Lords repeated their well known stance and an amendment of the law that forbids the British Museum to concede artefacts was rejected.

Source: British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM); TA NEA

8 February 2022

Parthenon marbles’ return would be a lovely jubilee gesture

The sculptures in the British Museum could be replaced by exact replicas, and it would be fitting to return them to Greece, says Roger Michel, Director of the Institute for Digital Archaeology in Oxford.

Source: The Guardian

9 February 2022

The Acropolis Museum is traveling to Palermo: long term loan of a statue of Athena

See the Extra edition of the IARPS Newsletter on this significant event.

The statue of Athena from the Acropolis Museum (inv. Acr. 3027) is placed in the emblematic archaic sculptures gallery of the Regional Archaeological Museum Antonino Salinas in Palermo, Sicily, for four years, to be replaced later on by a geometric vase.

This is a happy ending, for the moment, of months long negotiations between Greece and Sicily. Celebrations started on 10 January 2022 with the return of the “Fagan fragment” for at least eight years, from the Antonino Salinas Museum in Palermo to the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

To watch the video of the ceremony, use the link:

VIDEO | Dall’acropoli di Atene al museo Salinas, arriva a Palermo la …

Source: Press Office Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greece; Press Office Acroplis Museum; The National Herald

11 February 2022

Meeting Ministers of Culture of Greece and Italy in Rome

During the cordial meeting the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini announced the intention of the Ministry of Italian Culture to support a quick procedure for a permanent return to Greece of the “Fagan” fragment. The restitution may take place as a result of the inter-institutional procedure, started at the request of the Sicily Region and that will be defined in the Committee for the Recovery and Return of Cultural Goods established at the MiC. Minister Franceschini has underlined the importance of this gesture which reiterates the excellent bilateral relationship between Italy and Greece and the community of views regarding the international protection of historical-artistic heritage. Franceschini told Mendoni: “we will always support the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures”.

Source: Ministerio della Cultura

12 February 2022

An opening for a loan without recognition of ownership?

Experts as Mark Stephens, leading cultural property lawyer, and Alexander Herman, Director of the UK -based Institute of Art and Law, believe that the British Museum has made a “massive shift” in its policy regarding the loaning of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, possibly opening the way for the first constructive discussions on the artefacts’ return after decades of dead-ends.

Read also the opinions on the issue expressed by Prof. Cartledge (vice president IARPS and vice chair BCRPM), Dame Janet Suzman (chair BCRPM) and Marlen Godwin (International Relations Officer BCRPM).

Source: TA NEA

12 February 2022

How Britain lost its marbles: what a tussle for restitution in the art world tells us about modern England

The struggle for the Parthenon marbles between Greece and Britain has placed Britain outside the mainstream when it comes to restitution in art and Brexit, naturally, has played a role.

Prof. Nikos Stampolidis, General Director of the Acropolis Museum, talking on the Parthenon Sculptures with Phoebe Greenwood.

Source: The Currency News

14 February 2022

The Times view on replicating the Elgin Marbles: Greek gifts

How 3D printing could allow the marbles to return to Athens

The Times view on replacing the Elgin Marbles: Greek gifts.

Source: The Times

15 February 2022

Greek EU lawmaker pushes colleagues for Parthenon Marbles return

A Greek Member of the European Parliament wants her colleagues to back Greece’s renewed call for the British Museum to return the Parthenon Marbles stolen mare than 200 years ago.

Source: The National Herald

18 February 2022

Janet Suzman’s letter in The Times

Dame Janet Suzman, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), on the originals and the perfect replicas.

Source: British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) website

22 February 2022

The Times’ landmark shift on the Marbles

Kostantinos Tassoulas, Greece’s parliamentary spokesman, opinion on The Times’ U-turn on the return of the Parthenon Sculptures to Athens.

Source: Ekathimerini

22 February 2022

Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on the return of antiquities from New York, and on the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures

… “If I was not optimistic, would I work so hard for the reunion of the Sculptures? For the first time in almost five decades, so much pressure is being exerted on the UK. The international climate is extremely positive for Greece, for our legal and moral request that the Parthenon, the symbol of Western Civilization and Democracy, must acquire its integrity.

On the operating model of the Acropolis Museum as a guide for the other major museums in the country:

“We are currently undergoing a major reform in the institutional framework of the five major museums, so that they cease to be services of the Ministry of Culture with administrative and financial rigidities and function as Legal Entities under Public Law always supervised by the Ministry of Culture with greater administrative autonomy and flexibility, following the practice of the Acropolis Museum.”

Source: The National Herald

23 February 2022

Acropolis Museum: the Parthenon frieze – New application!

The Acropolis Museum, in collaboration with the Acropolis Restoration Service (YSMA) and the National Center for Documentation & Electronic Content, presents a modern way of exploring the complete synthesisof the Parthenon frieze through the web application. Explore the Parthenon frieze stone by stone or through its thematic units. This application gathers photographs and descriptions of all the frieze blocs preserved today in Greece and abroad. Both the general public and

experts have the opportunity to discover the whole synthesis of this unique sculptural work of art.

Source: Acropolis Museum website

Edited by Dr Kris Tytgat, President of IARPS

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A digest of news for 2021 from IARPS

The following is a re-posting of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures news digest edited by Dr Kris Tytgat, President of IARPS.
We have omitted some low resolution images
The IARPS does not have a website. There is a website http://www.parthenoninternational.org/ that is presented as the IARPS website but it is no longer current. It’s administrator has not handed administration rights to the present executive of IARPS. Consequently we are assisting by posting the latest new from IARPS on our blog.

30 September 2021

New UNESCO recommendation and decision on the Parthenon
Sculptures

During its 22 nd session, the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO for
the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin (ICPRCP)
adopted for the first time, not only a Recommendation, which it
routinely adopts on this issue, but also a Decision (Decision 22 COM 17),
exclusively targeted at the issue of the return of the Parthenon
Sculptures.
According to the statement by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and
Sports, “the added value of the decision lies in the fact that the
Commission expresses its strong dissatisfaction with the fact that the
resolution of the issue remains pending due to the position of the United
Kingdom. Furthermore, it urges the United Kingdom to reconsider its
position and enter into a dialogue in good faith with Greece, underlining
emphatically the intergovernmental nature of the dispute.”

UNESCO – ICPRCP

Press Office Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

The Art Newspaper

5 October 2021

The UK rejects UNESCO’s call on British Authorities to reassess their position on the contested Parthenon Marbles

Following the 22nd Session of UNESCO’ ICPRCP at the end of September, the British Government and the British Museum maintain their longstanding position.

A UK government spokesperson said in an email to Artnet News:

“We disagree with the Committee’s decision adopted in the closing minutes of the session and are raising issues relating to fact and procedure with UNESCO. Our position is clear — the Parthenon Sculptures were acquired legally in accordance with the law at the time. The British Museum operates independently of the government and free from political interference. All decisions relating to collections are taken by the Museum’s trustees.”

Source: Artnet News

8 October 2021

« Le conflit entre la Grèce et le British Museum pour la restitution , ou non, des frises du Parthénon, est un cas d’école »

Since nearly 40 years, Athens claims the return of the artefacts taken away by the British Ambassador Lord Elgin in the 19th century. In his “Chronique”, the chief editor at “Le Monde” explains why this dispute is an example of the problems related to restitutions.

Source: Le Monde

9 October 2021

The museum was forced to close on December 16, 2020 when the national Covid-19 lockdown was put in place. It reopened on 17 May 2021, but some of its Greek galleries remained closed due to ‘essential’ repairs.

UNESCO, the Greek Government as well as campaigners for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures have expressed concern about the poor state of the rooms.

The BM comments that it has undertaken a programme of maintenance works in the galleries and that it works towards a reopening later in autumn.

Source: TA NEA (with statements by Dr Kris Tytgat, president of IARPS; Dame Janet Suzman, chair of BCRPM; Prof. Paul Cartledge, vice chair of IARPS and of BCRPM; BM spokesperson)

11 October 2021

Tribute to Evi Touloupa

The late Evi Touloupa

IARPS is deeply saddened by the death of Evi Touloupa, a great archaeologist and researcher, who left us at the age of 97. We express our condolences to the Greek archaeological world, friends and colleagues. She was best known as an Ephor of the Acropolis.

15 October 2021

And so it begins: Germany and Nigeria sign pre-accord on restitution of Benin bronzes

An example to be followed!

The German government and the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments have signed a memorandum of understanding setting out a timetable for the restitution of artefacts looted from the royal palace of Benin in a British military raid in 1897.

Source: The Art Newspaper

11 November 2021

7th International Meeting for the restoration of the Acropolis monuments – 11-13 November 2021

At the opening of the Meeting Dr Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports confirms that the upgrading and protection of the Acropolis is the constant priority of the Ministry.

The new programmes and restoration works are going to concentrate on the Acropolis walls and the main entrance.

Source: Press office Ministry of Culture and Sports

12 November 2021

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ speech at the UNESCO 75th Anniversary celebration in Paris

Speaking about the Parthenon Sculptures:

There cannot be dialogue between nations, without dialogue amongst cultures. Something which presupposes respect for the history, heritage, and identity of each nation. To my mind that means that emblematic monuments, inherently connected to the very identity of a nation, should be a matter of that nation.

Take the Parthenon Sculptures, which make up a hugely significant piece of the world’s cultural heritage and are perhaps the most important symbolic link between modern Greeks and their ancestors.

Most of that collection can be found on display in the Acropolis museum, a few hundred meters from the Parthenon. That they can be seen in situ, in their birthplace, connected visually to the monument which lends the sculptures their global significance, that really matters.

However, while a part of that collection remains exiled in London that impact can never be fully appreciated. That is why I believe it is essential that the Parthenon marbles in London should be reunited with the majority of the Parthenon Sculptures in Athens.

Last September a pivotal step was taken by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property. For the first time, it unanimously adopted a decision recognising that “the case has an intergovernmental character and, therefore, the obligation to return the Parthenon Sculptures lies squarely on the UK Government”.

The UK should move to a bona fide dialogue with Greece. And I urge them to do so. After all, this year marks the 200th anniversary of Greece’s War of Independence. There could be no better time than now, in which to reunite the missing section of the Parthenon Sculptures – in their birthplace – in Greece.

Source: Primeminister.gr

13 November 2021

PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis to journalist Gordon Rayner in The Telegraph

Our position is clear. The Sculptures were stolen in the 19th cent., they belong to the Acropolis Museum and we have to discuss this issue seriously and sincerely.

Source: Primeminister.gr

15 November 2021

The Parthenon Sculptures and the Greek Revolution

Sophia Hiniadou on the role of the antiquities in the woke of the historical past, the integration in the newly built national memory, but also in the West-European culture.

Source: TA NEA

16 November 2021

Meeting PM Johnson and PM Mitsotakis in London

Prime Minister Mitsotakis raised the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures. Prime Minister Johnson said that he understood the strength of feeling of the Greek people on this issue, but reiterated the UK’s longstanding position that this matter is one for the Trustees of the British Museum. The leaders agreed that this issue in no way affects the strength of the UK-Greece partnership.

Source: Press release GOV.UK; Primeminister.gr

16 November 2021

Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ speech at the inauguration of the “Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom” exhibition, at the Science Museum in London

Greek PM Mitsotakis calls for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures at the inauguration of the exhibition.

Source: Primeminister.gr

16 November 2021

Prime Minister Mitsotakis’ interview on ITV network

“First of all, we want the sculptures back for good. So we will not settle for a loan. But what we can offer is certainly an arrangement where we could offer to the British Museum artifacts and treasures that have never left the country, as part of a rotating collection. So, if there’s a will, I’m sure we can find a solution.

And what better demonstration of “Global Britain”, on the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the war of independence, than Great Britain to make such a generous gesture towards the Greek people”.

Source: Primeminister.gr

18 November 2021

Symposium “Greece and Cultural Heritage”

A side-event of the 4th General Conference of UNESCO, Paris, organised with the support of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation.

Participating were: Rector Hélène Ahrweiler, chair of the French Committee, and Prof. Paul Cartledge, vice chair of IARPS and BCRPM who gave eloquent speech supporting the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures.

Source: UNESCO

20 November 2021

Parthenon Sculptures should return to Greece, the British say in new poll

Two articles published in British newspapers The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian directly support arguments for the return of the precious marbles to their home.

A public opinion poll by pollsters YouGov shows that 56 percent of participants stated that the Parthenon Sculptures should be exhibited in Greece, while only 20 percent said they should remain in the United Kingdom, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Source: Greek Reporter

21 November 2021

Ouzo talk Podcast: No excuses left – Time to return the Parthenon Sculptures

Speaking to the Ouzo podcast, founder and chair of the International Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc (IOCARPM), Emmanuel John Comino AM, and committee member Theodora Gianniotis, are of the strong opinion that the British Museum is now clutching at straws, as its outdated arguments have been systematically disproven over time.

Source: Greek City Times

22 November 2021

Ελένη Αρβελέρ: Τα πριόνια του Ελγιν και οι Άγγλοι

The saws of Elgin and the English. Hélène Ahrweiler, chair of the French Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, explains the reasons why the Sculptures of the Parthenon will return one day to Greece.

Source: I Kathimerini

23 November 2021

Parthenon marbles should never have been removed, Boris Johnson wrote

In 2012 letter to Greek official, then London mayor Boris Johnson said that ideally the sculptures would have stayed in Athens.

Source: The Guardian

23 November 2021

Declassified: secret papers reveal UK government’s stance on Parthenon Marbles dispute

Newly released documents from the 1990’s state: “This is an issue on which we can never win”.

Source: The Art Newspaper

24 November 2021

Britain can gain by giving back the Elgin Marbles

“Here’s a win-win solution that might just resolve the dispute between Britain and Greece over the Elgin Marbles. Greece could let the British Museum make a high-quality marble copy not just of the sculptures it has, but of the Parthenon sculptures that are in the Acropolis Museum in Athens. London would give back the originals. That way Greece would have all the originals but the British Museum would have an identical copy”.

Source: The Times

25 November 2021

New momentum for return of Parthenon Marbles

Dame Janet Suzman, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM): “Sometimes fairy tales come true: I never thought to see the stunning coverage given to the Parthenon Marbles by two leading right-wing newspapers, the Mail and the Telegraph.

But see how one can be so wrongfooted: The Mail quotes Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ eloquent case for the return in full, and the Telegraph offers a huge, unmissable, two-page spread offering the pros and cons of a return”.

Source: Ekathimerini.com

27 November 2021

Η… περιφρόνηση του Βρετανικού Μουσείου

Denis Mc Shane, the British politician for Europe under Tony Blair, tells TA NEA that he had introduced in the beginning of the 2000’s to return the Parthenon Sculptures to Greece and how just a few days ago the issue was discussed again, a 24 hours before the meeting Mitsotakis – Johnson.

Source: TA NEA

2 December 2021

Meeting Greek Minister of Culture and the Ambassador of the UK

Two weeks after the meeting between PM Mitsotakis  and PM Johnson in London, Dr Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, met H.E. Mr Matthew Lodge, Ambassador of the UK in Athens. The issue of the Parthenon Sculptures which are on display in the British Museum figured on the agenda.

Source: The Times

2 December 2021

Meeting Greek Minister of Culture and the Ambassador of the UK

Two weeks after the meeting between PM Mitsotakis  and PM Johnson in London, Dr Lina Mendoni, Minister of Culture and Sports, met H.E. Mr Matthew Lodge, Ambassador of the UK in Athens. The issue of the Parthenon Sculptures which are on display in the British Museum figured on the agenda.

Source: The Times

Majestic Acropolis lighting wins international award

Eleftheria Deko, the designer behind the new lighting of the Acropolis won the LIT Lighting Design of the Year Award for 2021.

Source: Greek Reporter

4 December 2021

It’s right to be proud of the British Museum

Sir George Osborne, since October the new Chair of the Trustees of the British Museum, speaks out on the British Museum in an op-ed article in The Times.

Source: The Times

6 December 2021

Suzman and Cartledge answer in TA NEA to Osborne

Dame Janet Suzman, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM), and Prof. Paul Cartledge, vice chair of IARPS and of the BCRPM, answer to George Osborne’s article in The Times.

Source: TA NEA

6 December 2021

UN adopts Greek proposal for the return of stolen cultural treasures

At its 44th plenary meeting on 6 December 2021, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution titled “Return or restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin” proposed by Greece and supported by an unprecedented 111 countries, without a vote.

Source: UNESCO

12 December 2021

Editorial in The National Herald: The Pros and Cons of the Osborne Article on Sculptures

Antonis H. Diamataris, member of the Board of the Acropolis Museum, evaluating George Osborne’s article It’s right to be proud of the British Museum, published in The Times on December 4.

Source: The National Herald

13 December 2021

Create virtual Elgin Marbles and return real thing, urges Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry, long-time supporter of the return of the so called Elgin Marbles to Athens, has called, once more, for the Marbles to be returned to Greece and replaced in the British Museum with an artificial reality experience. He said that returning them to Athens would be a “classy” gesture by Britain.

Source: The Times

13 December 2021

Reopening of Room 18 in the British Museum !!!

“Please note due to regular maintenance works Rooms 15-18 are temporarily closed. We plan to reopen them on Monday 13 December 2021.”

This message on the website of the British Museum made us eagerly looking forward to the reopening of Room 18 where the Parthenon Sculptures are on display. And not only us! During the 22nd session of the Intergovernmental Commission for the Return of Cultural Property to the Countries of Origin (ICPRCP) at the end of September, UNESCO expressed its concern concerning the ongoing closure of the Duveen Gallery. The gallery was closed for nearly a year and one may wonder why “regular maintenance” takes so much time to make a core collection of the museum accessible again to the public. Cleaning and repairing the leaking roof or taking care of the climatization and humidity problems in the room which were reported in the media at several occasions, were certainly a must.

What ever interventions the British Museum carried out, their collection of Parthenon Sculptures remains a mutilated part of a priceless ensemble. Room 18 can never compete with the transparent Parthenon Gallery on top of the Acropolis Museum in Athens, illuminated by the Attic light, at the foot of the Acropolis, in direct visual contact with the Parthenon. Here the sculptures are, well protected and correctly orientated, on display in their natural environment. Only reunited in the city where they where created for the Parthenon temple, two and a half millennia ago, the Sculptures can tell their complete story and give evidence of the great craftsmanship of Pheidias and its team for the future.

[Kris Tytgat to Y. Andritsopoulos for TA NEA]

Y. Andritsopoulos was reporting in TA NEA on the reopening and collected reactions from campaigners.

Source: Kris Tytgat and TA NEA

15 December 2021

The U.K. has held on to the Parthenon Marbles for centuries – But the tide is turning. Here’s why I expect them to be returned by 2030

In an Op-Ed in the Artnet News Prof. Dan Hicks deploys his arguments for this statement.

Lockdowns have played a significant role in shifting the public’s perception on restitution. Twenty five year ago, in the preface to the 1997 edition of his book The Parthenon Marbles, Christopher Hitchens observed that “those who support the status quo at the British Museum have the great advantage of inertia on their side.” Today, things could hardly be more different. … In his book, The British Museums, Hicks described the 2020’s as a “decade of returns”. This global conversation about restitution increasingly centres on social justice, transparency, the repayment of debts, fairness, as well as a new model of museums in which these spaces are not nostalgic end-points but future oriented, living places. … The potential role of UNESCO in future developments could be very significant. … Nonetheless, in this new cultural, internationalist, and intellectual atmosphere, it’s hard to believe that the Parthenon Marbles won’t have been reunited in Athens by the end of the decade.

Source: Artnet News

18 December 2021

Revealed: Parthenon Marbles were pillaged and should be returned to Greece, Boris Johnson argued as student

Yannis Andritsopoulos unearths in the Greek newspaper TA NEA an article written by Boris Johnson as a university student. The PM argued at that time that the Parthenon Marbles had been illegally removed from the temple and urged the British Government to return the artefacts to Greece. This is a complete reversal of the position he holds today.

The issue was picked up by the international press and in the UK.

Sources: TA NEA, English Version and The Telegraph

20 December 2021

The New York Times: As Europe returns artifacts, Britain stays silent

Alex Marshall gives a clear overview from the 1980’s until today of the steadfast position of the British Government and the British Museum on the issue of the Parthenon marbles, something that looks increasingly out of step in comparison to the restitution policies of other European countries these last years, he writes. He looks at the different opinions of politicians, lawmakers, activists and the Greek authorities.

Source: The New York Times

21 December 2021

Kris Tytgat: Boris Johnson showed the way for the return the Parthenon Sculptures

It is heart-warming to read that, once upon a time, as the Greek newspaper TA NEA discovered last Saturday, PM Johnson was an eloquent and convinced supporter of the return to Athens of the Parthenon Sculptures on display in the British Museum. A sin of youth? He changed his opinion drastically afterwards and he is entitled to do so, if he finds valuable reasons for it. What about his statement, however, that the Sculptures were illegally acquired? That is a fact! The reasons he evoked in 1986 why the UK has to return the Sculptures to Athens, are still valuable, and even more: a reunification of all the surviving parts of the Sculptures in the Acropolis Museum will be an unparalleled achievement in the history of protection of cultural heritage. PM Johnson also pointed out the way for the return: an Act of Parliament that can be passed in one afternoon. What are we still waiting for?

Source: TA NEA [Translated into in Greek by Y. Andritsopoulos, TA NEA]

21 December 2021

Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece, former UK culture minister says

More and more often we see that eminent personalities of British public life support the case of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, and even urge PM Boris Johnson to do the right thing: returning the Sculptures.

In a podcast interview, Ed Vaizey, the Conservative minister for culture from 2010 to 2016, said that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece. “The debate has really moved on. I think I would support the return of the marbles now. Having said that, it is extremely hard to know where to draw the line”. Vaizey outlined why the restitution debate is so intense and complex, highlighting the arguments that are played out whenever the issue of returning the ancient artefacts arises.

Source: The Art Newspaper

1 November 2021 – 1 March 2022

Acropolis Remix │ Embraces: Utopian Proximities (2021)

Acropolis Remix Pavilion at The Wrong Biennale 5.

Prof. Celina Lage, Vice-President of the Brazilian Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, is one of the curators of this exhibition. The Acropolis Remix shows video art, video performance, animation, video dance, and video poetry, addressing in a creative and poetic way possible and impossible proximities between bodies, which can be human, natural, material or artificial, imagined and digitally conceived.

The conceptual guiding thread and reference for the exhibition are the sculptures of embraces present on the east and west pediments of the Parthenon, on the Athenian Acropolis. Acropolis Remix proposes a remix of the diachronic cultural landscape of the Acropolis, a space disputed throughout history and in constant construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction, thus establishing dialogues with the issues of the current world, enabling multiple reinterpretations.

The exhibition Embraces: Utopian Proximities proposes, in a positive way, embraces as a reestablishment of relationships in an utopian plane. Examples of these proximities are, on the one hand, fragments of the Parthenon sculptures which are in the British Museum waiting to be reunited again in Athens in the new Acropolis Museum and, on the other hand, the contemporary utopias of embraces around common causes, such as the dreamed embrace between Israelis and Palestinians for the end of the war.

Source: Website Acropolis Remix

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Interview with Professor Louis Godart

Professor Louis Godart recently gave this interview to Dimitra Pananou from Real News.

1) Some experts believe that the British Museum has made a “massive shift” in its policy regarding the loaning of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Do you believe so?

2) Do you think that is time for the first constructive discussions on the artefacts’ return after decades of dead-ends?

3) Do you believe that Greece and Italy showed the way to do it? I am referring to the recent cultural collaboration.

4) What Greece should do next?

5) If finally the sculptures return to Greece what will it mean for the civilizat ion?

1.The British Museum talking about “loan” did not make a “massive shift”. It would be crucial for the British Museum to recognise that the Parthenon marbles were stolen from the temple of Athena by a vile predator named Lord Elgin. A theft has been perpetrated and Greece is the injured party. The Parthenon sculptures that are in the British Museum are owned by Greece. Britain should be faithful to its democratic tradition by acknowledging that the marbles were not legally purchased and that they belong to Greece and only to Greece. Britain cannot therefore “lend” what is not his. After all, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 1986 accused Lord Elgin of “wholesale pillage”. I repeat: the marbles of Phidias must be returned to Greece because th ey are in London at the end of an illicit operation.

2. I definitely believe that times have changed. All over the world, starting with England, millions of people who consider themselves children of Hellas, insist on the need to return to the country that forged the values of Western civilization, the marbles of Phidias. They do so because they learned from Greece that man is at the center of history and that democracy born in Athens in 508 B.C. is the only political regime that allows men to live free. These people will end up being heard by the British authorities. I find it important that the authoritative Times of London, the newspaper of the British establishment, has taken a stand in favour of returning Phidias’ sculptures to Greece.

3. Greece and Italy have opened a path that Britain will have to follow. The exchange between the foot of Artemis which has now returned to its place in the grandiose frieze of Phidias and a statue of Athena from the fifth century B.C. from the Acropolis is highly signi ficant. The Italian government, convinced that the marbles of Phidias are property of Greece, is perfecting some legislative aspects that will allow the fragment of Palermo to remain forever in Athens. All countries, including England, whose history is marked by classical civilization, should follow the example given by the authorities of the Palermo museum, of Sicily and all the Italian political world. In addition to the British Museum, there are some fragments of the frieze of Phidias that are scattered throughout Europe. It’s time for them to return to the wonderful Acropolis Museum.

4. I am convinced that the political action of the Greek Government is the right one. Following the path of “cultural diplomacy” is fundamental. I followed this path when he was Advisor to the Presidents of the Italian Republic Ciampi and Napolitano and this path has led to excellent results. It is a matter of proposing in exchange for the return of works stolen from the country of origin, loans of works from the reserves of our museums, so as not to deplete the rooms that housed the returned masterpieces. For example, the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum has returned the “Tavola Doria” by Leonardo da Vinci and we regularly send, for a limited time, masterpieces from our museums to replace the painting returned to Italy. The Japanese are delighted with this cooperation. I f the authorities of the British Museum were smart, they would understand that such an agreement would be beneficial to the museum.

5. It will be the victory of Civilization over Barbarism. Our world needs to win this battle.

Professor Louis Godart is the immediate past Chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Partrhenon Marbles

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Dialogues on the Archaeology of Magna Graecia and the Mediterranean

Proceedings of the V  International Conference of Studies, 2020

Following are the Italian language proceedings from the conference

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Ouzo Talk Podcast: No Excuses Left – Time to Return the Parthenon Sculptures 

Acropolis Museum and the Acropolis

Speaking to the Ouzo Talk Podcast, Founder and Chair of the International Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc (IOCARPM), Emmanuel John Comino AM, and committee member Theodora Gianniotis, is of the strong opinion that the British Museum is now clutching at straws, as their outdated arguments have been systematically disproven over time.

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PARTHENON MARBLES: The “weapon” of Greece and the “smart compromises”

Our colleague Irina Korobina, chairwoman of the Russian Commission for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, likened the reports in favour of the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles to a “sign of common sense.”

She stressed that their repatriation would increase Britain’s global prestige.

Read the complete article here in Greek City Times.

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International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures – Extra Edition

Press Releases

Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports

https://www.culture.gov.gr/el/Information/SitePages/view.aspx?nID=4100

Acropolis Museum

PRESS RELEASE.docx (theacropolismuseum.gr)

Greek Statue Lent to Italy in Exchange for Parthenon Gesture

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