April 8, 2008
Contact: Caroline Jenkins Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.—On Thursday, April 10, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, in conjunction with SAFE (Saving Antiquities for Everyone), will participate in a global observance marking the five-year anniversary of the looting of the Iraq Museum in Baghdad with a film screening, two gallery talks and a candlelight vigil. The events, which are free and open to the public, also resonate with the Mead’s current exhibition, The Third Space: Cultural Identity Today.
From 6 to 6:45 p.m., the museum will screen the documentary, Robbing the Cradle of Civilization: The Looting of Iraq’s Ancient Treasures, which chronicles the events of April 13, 2003, at Pruyne Lecture Hall in Fayerweather. Following the film, from 7 to 8 p.m., two half-hour gallery talks will be presented simultaneously at the Mead and then repeated. Visitors will be split into two groups to enable them the opportunity to hear both talks. Carol Solomon Kiefer, curator of European art, will present “The Third Space: Cultural Identity Today,” while Jill Bierly, University of Massachusetts doctoral candidate in anthropology, will speak about Amherst’s ancient Assyrian reliefs (brought to the college in the 1840s), discussing their juxtaposition as excavated works of art to the destructive looting taking place in Iraq today.
On April 13, 2003, thousands of invaluable objects were either destroyed or looted from the Iraq Museum in Baghdad. Donny George, former director general of the Iraq Museum, explains the ongoing tragedy. “Whenever objects are looted from the ground, the cultural and historical information that proper excavation would have yielded is lost forever. It is not something we are losing and tomorrow we can buy again. It is the memory of the Iraqi people, the memories of mankind.” The candlelight vigil aims to draw attention to the thousands of artifacts still missing from the Iraq Museum and the continuing destruction and looting of archeological sites in Iraq and around the world.
The Mead Art Museum is free, fully accessible and open to all Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Thursday evenings until 9 p.m. For more information, please visit www.amherst.edu/mead or call 413/542-2335.