Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cultural Security News (Jan. 20 - Jan. 26)

Cultural heritage flash points in Syria, Sri Lanka, Serbia - firebombing in Tunisia
In politics, in British Columbia, a controversy over the sale of Nuu-Chah-nulth sacred masks has inspired a change in law on the right to sell privately owned cultural property. An article in Newsweek extolled the new Bibliotheca Alexandria in Egypt. In Turkey, restoration of historic Murad I baths was halted over murals that did not match the originals.
In a crossover of politics, economics, and security, international sanctions in response to Iran’s nuclear program have created economic hardship, which has made lower-priced art more attractive and thereby has created opportunities for local emerging artists.
In a crossover of politics and security, in Sri Lanka, renaming of ancient Buddhist sites causes a controversy. In Serbia, demolition of a monument to Albanian guerrillas in Presevo received relatively little international resistance. An Armenian perspective on Turkey’s assertive repatriation of antiquities perceives contradictions with Turkey’s domestic cultural policy that puts Armenian cultural heritage at risk. In Tunisia, a group of hooded people firebombed a mausoleum of Sidi Ahmed Ourfelli.
In economics, in Asia, a proliferation art fairs from Hong Kong to Singapore has expanded the art market., and Art Stage Singapore creates a focus for local emerging artists. From Latin America to the Middle East, China, and Russia, reportedly a ‘Premier League’ of collectors, using venture-capital-like strategies, is pricing art out of range for middle-market collectors. Central Asian galleries have established a foothold in Dubai. In Vancouver, the sale of Renaissance sculptures revealed a significantly lower appraisal that brought tax credits for the original donation into question. On-line auctions are expected to expand the art market in 2013.
In a crossover of economics and security, in India, attrition will cause a shortage of archaeological experts by 2015 in the State of Tamil Nadu, and a reported lack awareness of cultural heritage throughout the nation puts art and architecture at risk.
In security, Giorgos Tsoukalis presented his latest book on antiquities smuggling. In Syria, reportedly attacks on religious sites occur even after the opposition has gained control in northern areas. An interview with Corine Wegener reveals efforts to train soldiers in awareness of cultural heritage. Syrian rebels received training on Geneva Conventions in Switzerland. Two art traffickers were sentenced after pleading guilty to the attempted sale of a stolen Matisse.
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