Saturday, February 28, 2015

Islamic State is Selling Looted Syrian Art in London to Fund its Fight

By Daniela Deane
Syria is home to many ancient ruins, including the Temple of Bel on the site of ancient Palmyra. Many archaeological sites have suffered damage amid civil war as well as looting by the Islamic State. (AP)
UNITED KINGDOM---Almost 100 Syrian artifacts looted by the Islamic State have been smuggled into Britain and sold to raise money for the extremist group’s activities, art crime experts and archaeologists have warned, according to British news organizations. The items, allegedly being sold in London, include gold and silver Byzantine coins as well as Roman pottery and glass worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Times newspaper reported Wednesday. [link]

Australia's Mandorla Launches 2016 Religious Art Award

By Marco Ceccarelli
Paul Kaptein’s hand-carved piece, Untitled, was the winner of last year’s Mandorla Art Award. The Scripture theme was Elijah Meets God. PHOTO: Supplied
AUSTRALIA---Within our own secularised society, less and less attention is drawn to religious art and, as a result, religious works of art are rarely given the merit they deserve. The Mandorla Art Award, Australia’s only thematic Christian art award, is seeking to reverse this trend by inviting artists to create works of art linked to a theme defined by verses from the Bible. The theme chosen for the forthcoming 2016 Mandorla Art Award, The Resurrection, draws on passages from the Bible, including Ezekiel 37:1-4, Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 29:13-35, John 20:11-29 and Romans 6:1-11.[link]

‘In the Land of the Head Hunters,’ a Recreated Artifact of Ancient Ways

By J. Hoberman

“In the Land of the Head Hunters,” out on Blu-ray and DVD from Milestone, is the reconstruction of a reconstruction. It preserves an artifact that used a once advanced technology to document a no longer extent way of life, and was itself all but lost to history. Around 1911, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), the celebrated photographer of Native Americans, began preparations for a six-reel feature about the Kwakwaka’wakw (formerly Kwakiutl) Indians of British Columbia. [link]

Friday, February 27, 2015

Philadelphia Art Museum's South Asian Galleries to Close for a Year

By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Pillared Temple Hall exhibit will be retooled to focus on its religious roots. (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
PENNSYLVANIA---The South Asian galleries at the Philadelphia Museum of Art - the eight second-floor rooms containing such dramatic works as the mammoth Pillared Temple Hall built in the 16th century in southern India - will be closed for more than a year after Sunday. Museum officials said Wednesday that the closure, long in the planning, will allow a complete rethinking of how the South Asian collection is presented to the public. New video and digital technology will be deployed as well, allowing for a richer and, officials hope, more personal experience for museumgoers. The galleries will reopen in fall 2016. [link]

Mosque Vandilized in Washington DC for 2nd Time in a Week

By Mike Murillo | @MikeMurilloWTOP

WASHINGTON D.C. — Tape and plastic have again been added to a broken window at a mosque in Northeast D.C. after vandals struck for the second time in a week. On Monday, the Ivy City Majid & Islamic Education Center, on Gallaudet Street, was found in disarray; shelves with holy books was in pieces and glass littered the ground. Then on Thursday, Mobaidin said, he arrived to find the mosque has been damaged again. Fencing used inside the mosque was broken; a podium was in shambles and a very large piece of religious artwork was stolen. [link]

With Sledgehammer, Islamic State Smashes Iraqi History

By Isabel Coles and Saif Hameed
In this image made from video posted on a social media account affiliated with the Islamic State group on Feb. 26, 2015, militants attack ancient artifacts with sledgehammers in the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. (Photo: AP)
IRAQ---Ultra-radical Islamist militants in northern Iraq have destroyed a priceless collection of statues and sculptures from the ancient Assyrian era, inflicting what an archaeologist described as incalculable damage to a piece of shared human history. A video published by Islamic State on Thursday showed men attacking the artifacts, some of them identified as antiquities from the 7th century BC, with sledgehammers and drills, saying they were symbols of idolatry. "The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him," an unidentified man said in the video. [link]

Theatre Review: ‘Rap Guide to Religion’ Examines Why Humanity Created God

By Anita Gates

You know what would make Baba Brinkman happy this weekend? If just one winner would get up at the Oscars and make an acceptance speech that began not with an expression of gratitude to God but with “I want to thank Charles Darwin.” Seeing “Rap Guide to Religion,” Mr. Brinkman’s very funny, very educational solo show, directed by Darren Lee Cole at the SoHo Playhouse, is like attending the best TED talk ever, but with musical breaks. [link]