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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 15 June 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 15 JUNE 2019 17 ARCHAELOGY Acropolis Museum’s Anniversary is time to review our campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles EMANUEL J COMINO AM A s we approach the 10th anniversary of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum, it is an appropriate time to review how far we have come in campaigning for the return of the Parthenon Marbles. When I established the International Organising Committee-Australia-for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles (IOC-A-RPM) in 1981, it was the first group outside Greece to campaign for their return. Back then, the British argued that there was no place to display all of the Parthenon Marbles in Athens. This is an argument they can no longer use. I remember the Greek Minister for Culture, Melina Mercouri, very well. She helped begin the modern movement for the return of the marbles. I met with her when she came to Australia in March 1983, and she encouraged me to do whatever I could to support the new British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles. She really raised the profile of this campaign and I will never forget her. We can never thank her enough. Over the last 43 years I've carried out an on-going program of talks and lectures all over the world, for community groups, schools, universities, conferences and many more. Some of the work has involved writing books and pamphlets. In the digital era, we maintain an active presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and through the IOC-A-RPM website IOC-A-RPM has directly organised, and helped organise, three international conferences on the Parthenon Marbles in the last seven years (2012, 2013 and 2015). In April of this year we were in Athens for the International Conference on the Parthenon Sculptures, by invitation of Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos. It was a great honour, not only to speak at this conference, but also to be elected as the Vice Chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, (IARPS) following the conference. There is still much work ahead of us, and there is no single or simple strategy for securing return of the Parthenon Marbles. Sometimes people suggest the way forward is taking the United Kingdom government to court. Our view is that this is a dead end, with slim chances of success. Litigation has also been rejected by Greek governments of all political persuasion. I have spoken with three The Erechtheum Caryatids is in Room 19 of the British Museum, London. PHOTO: FLICKR Greek Ministers for Culture, from three different political parties. They all gave me the same answer, Greece is not interested in going to court but only in seeking for the return diplomatically, politically and through UNESCO. We support Greece's position. If the strategy changes, we will continue to support them. Greece has already achieved much through diplomacy. Every three years the UN General Assembly adopts a Resolution entitled 'Return or Restitution of Cultural Property to the countries of origin'. It was introduced by Greece and is an important tool in Greece's Cultural Diplomacy. The Resolution encompasses restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures. It was last adopted on 13 December, 2018. UNESCO is another important area of Greece's cultural diplomacy. Parthenon Sculptures are an important focus of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation (ICPRCP). In May 2018, the ICPRCP called upon Greece and the UK to reach a settlement of this long-standing issue, taking into account its historical, cultural, legal and ethical dimensions, while recalling that the Acropolis 10th-year celebration of great museum S ince its auspicious opening, the Acropolis Museum has always been on a mission – to let the world know that it is the most appropriate place to exhibit the Parthenon Marbles. Now in it's 10th year, 14.5 million local and international visitors have passed through its doors and enjoyed its exhibits. The museum is celebrating a decade worth of operations with a number of events. TEMPORARY EXHIBITION 'CHISEL AND MEMORY. THE CONTRIBUTION OF MARBLE CRAFTSMANSHIP TO THE RESTORATION OF THE ACROPOLIS MONUMENTS' Runs through to 31.10.2019 Since opening its doors ten years ago, the Acropolis Museum has highlighted the close relationship between the famous sculptures it displays and the monuments from which they originate. The exhibition of photographs of the marble craftsmen of the Acropolis at work was initially organised by the Committee for the Conservation of the Acropolis Monuments and the Acropolis Restoration Service. The exhibition takes place in the ground floor Temporary Exhibition Gallery. Entrance free. MUSIC CONCERT 'STAVROS XARCHAKOS – INSTRUMENTAL' Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 9 p.m. The Acropolis Museum is hosting a concert by great Greek composer Stavros Xarchakos and an orchestra of eight renowned Greek soloists. Stavros Xarchakos and the orchestra will take visitors on a musical journey comprising familiar compositions by Stavros Xarchakos, Mikis Theodorakis, Vasilis Tsitsanis, of Athens is an emblematic monument of outstanding universal value, inscribed in the World Heritage List. When we consider the diplomatic and political possibilities, there are many. Educating public opinion is the key. Knowledge of the issue has already led to a huge shift in world opinion and now sees a majority of people in many countries, including the UK, favouring repatriation. Support for their return is most obvious amongst the so-called millennials. One man, Petros Papadopoulos, has been addressing crowds and calling for return of the Parthenon Marbles, inside the British Museum. On 20 June singer Héllena Micy will be releasing the song 'The Parthenon Marbles' (bring them back), to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum. There is great scope for creative use of the arts in the campaign as Héllena's work reveals. *Emanuel Comino AM, founder and chair of the International Organising Committee – Australia – for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Inc., was elected Vice-Chair of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures Five caryatid statues from the Erechtheion are displayed at the Acropolis Museum, with the missing statue at the British Museum. Markos Vamvakaris and Manos Hadjidakis. On this day the Museum will extend its opening hours until midnight. Entrance will be free from 8 pm onwards. 10-YEAR ACROPOLIS MUSEUM CELEBRATION Thursday, 20 June 2019 Entrance to the exhibition areas will be free from 8am to 8pm. NEW EXHIBITION SPACE Friday, 21 June 2019 onward From Friday 21 June 2019, the archaeological excavation will be open to the public with the general admission fee ticket. The excavated area of 4,000 sq. meters includes a display of houses, workshops, baths and streets of an ancient Athenian neighbourhood that existed from the classical to the Byzantine years, in successive phases. This impressive archaeological site will soon be enriched with the most representative findings of the excavation. Architectural ruins will be organised in a unique exhibition set that sheds light on the everyday life of an ancient neighbourhood that existed at the foot of the Acropolis. On this day the Museum exhibition areas will be open from 8 am to 10 pm.
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