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Friday, March 15, 2019

MET's The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Middle East - Vital Testament to Cultural Heritage

The antiquities and art in the MET's exhibit "The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Middle East" is most significant.  These ancient artifacts dating back to 2nd Century BC attest to the cultural, religious and artistic creativity attest to the lives of the indigenous population and travel routes and connections to other civilizations.   Many of the items on display signify battles, funerary rites and philosophical or religious convictions.  Furthermore, they are evidence of craftsmanship, construction capabilities and practices & ritualist traditions.  Much of the curation implies assumption of how items were utilized and valued.  There is an uncertainty of exact functions and precise date of origin.  Nonetheless, these are precious items for what they reveal of ancient history.  The import of what you see as you meander through the galleries may wane but excerpts from the film "The Destruction of Memory" reminds us of the most recent flagrant destruction of archeological sites, museums, mosques, monuments and relics by ISIL in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and at iconic sites in Palmyra and Hatra.  The videos discuss the cultural impact & connection between a population and its archeology and monuments.   What are the ramifications of the deliberate destruction & looting by ISIL in the 21st C?  UNESCO considers the intentional destruction of cultural heritage a war crime.  The priority lies with the safety and well-being of the people in these countries.  But, to destroy the art and monuments of a civilization demolishes the heritage and memory of that civilization.  Looking at art exhibits and other walks of life, it's critical to be mindful.  

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