Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cultural Security News (Apr. 28 - May 04)

Art as an investment? Repatriations gain momentum.
In politics, China persists in the repatriation of Chinese relics but acknowledges that long-terms efforts will be required. In the United Kingdom, academics convened to apply pressure on the government to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention. In Greece, a conference on repatriation of cultural property will take place at the Olympia Conference Center. Egypt challenged the sale of 200 objects at Bonham’s and succeeded in recovering some. Reportedly, the head of the United States National Archives has agreed to return the entire Jewish Archive to Iraq. In the United States, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York will return a pair of statues to Cambodia.
In a crossover of politics and security, in Egypt, police claim to be put on trial for using lethal force in self-defense against criminal gangs who, in some cases, smuggle antiquities. Also, youths rallied against construction that threatens an ancient burial ground in Dahshour.
In economics, China not only has the second largest art market but also influences markets abroad such as in South Africa. In Sudan, the Ministry of Tourism advocates greater spending to develop the cultural-heritage assets of the nation. Reportedly, high net-worth individuals continue to seek out the art market as an alternative investment (Or do they?), but experts still point out the risks. On the other hand, an article speculated on the potential for the art market to serve as a model for other markets. In China, affordable art continues to expand.
AfghanistanIn a crossover of economics and security, in Afghanistan, controversy continued over development of the copper mine at Mes Aynak. The “cultural security” of China has prevailed in that filmmakers in Hollywood adapt productions for foreign release to show China in a favorable light and include scenes that feature actors from China.
In security, in the United States, a report indicates increasingly broader ramifications of criminal cases of art and cultural property. In Macedonia, police arrested seventeen suspected smugglers of antiquities. The Director-General of UNESCO once again warned of the damage of ongoing looting in Syria.
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