#NadineGordimer: "Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set" - not content with claiming sovereignty over other peoples' countries, the British Empire appropriated the art in which the ethos, history, religious mythology, the fundament of the people is imbued. 3/
...We should start by ceasing to speak of the 'Elgin Marbles'. They are not and never were Lord Elgin's marbles; that is not their provenance. ... They are sections of the Parthenon Marbles that Lord Elgin... had hacked out of the antique frieze in the Parthenon 4/
In terms of origin, the claim is absolute: they belong to Greece. But as representative of the culture of ancient Greece, as the genesis of the ideal of humanism and beauty in art, there is also the argument that the Parthenon frieze belongs to world culture..5/
where in the world should such art, universally 'owned' in the sense of human development, be displayed?... the answer 'the British Museum in London' harks back to that relic of Empire, the assumption that Britain is the mecca of the world 6/
For the majority of the world population, both[Athens and London] are equally unlikely destinations. [If] there is no site in our world where the direct experience of seeing them is achievable for everyone, where else should they be but where they were created? 7/
One of reasons...presented by those who demand to keep the #Parthenonmarbles in British Museum, is that returning them...would begin a forced exodus of foreign treasures from all museums... Setting aside this sweeping conclusion of empty museums one would accept as reasonable..8/
...that examples of art from other cultures, objects complete in themselves, not plundered from their essential context but legally purchased - objects that exist in many surviving examples in their countries of origin, could be honourably retained by foreign museums 9/
'Objects complete in themselves'... the '#Elginmarbles' are sections, chapters in stone, excised from a marvel, narrative brutally interrupted, some isolated in the British museum, others incomplete in their sequence, in their rightful place in Athens...10/
There is an argument for the retention of great irreplaceable works of artistic genius that ... has some credence. In many eras and countries, exquisite works have been vandalised in conflicts... while the conditions of neglect in which some are kept now... 11/
...seem to be justification for pillaging them for the benefit of foreign museums that can afford to protect and preserve the works in controlled environments. 12/
On any criteria of ability, facility to preserve and display their own heritage of great works of art as their importance decrees, Greece has created a claim incontestably unmatched. The #Parthenon Gallery in the New Acropolis Museum... 13/
But there are gaps in the magnificent frieze, left blank. They are to be filled by an honourable return of the missing parts from the British Museum. Reverence - and justice - demand this. /End #NadineGordimer #RIPGeorgeBizos #ParthenonMarbles

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