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Greece Blasts British Museum for Parthenon Marbles Fashion Show

Parthenon Marbles Fashion Show
Parthenon Marbles in the British Museum. Credit: OliverN5. CC BY-2.0/Flickr

Greece’s Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said Saturday that the fashion show at the British Museum featuring the Parthenon Marbles “degrades the sculptures and the universal values they represent.”

Earlier in the day designer Erdem Moralıoğlu staged his latest London Fashion Week catwalk show in front of the Parthenon Marbles. The setting was a statement that underscored the inspiration for Erdem’s autumn fashion collection; the elegant wardrobe of Greek soprano Maria Callas.

Callas had been “uprooted”, Moralıoğlu said backstage, noting that she was born in New York to Greek parents, and raised and trained in Athens.

“I wanted to show in a space that brought to mind her Greekness. This idea of someone being from somewhere and ending up somewhere else is very interesting to me. I think there are some parallels there.”

Greece condemns fashion show in the Parthenon Marbles’ rooms

However, Erdem’s show was condemned back in Athens.

“By organizing a fashion show in the rooms where the Parthenon Sculptures are exhibited, the British Museum, once again, demonstrates its zero respect for the masterpieces of Pheidias,” Mendoni stated.

“The directors of the British Museum trivialize and insult not only the monument but also the universal values it transmits,” she added and called again for the return of the sculptures to Athens.

“The conditions of display and storage of the sculptures, at the Duveen Gallery, are constantly deteriorating. It is time for the stolen and abused sculptural masterpieces to shine in the light of Attica.”

Discussion on the sculptures between Greece and the UK

Greece has been campaigning for decades for the return of the Parthenon Marbles in Greece stolen by Lord Elgin in the 19th century.

The British Museum is prepared to accept a loan deal with Greece, but Athens insists on permanent and unequivocal repatriation.

Earlier in February the British Museum’s interim director declared he is in support of the plan for a loan arrangement wherein the Parthenon Marbles will be returned to Greece.

On being asked if he could envisage an arrangement whereby the museum would return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, he replied “Yes. I could easily imagine a relationship between us and the Acropolis Museum that included mutual loans. Why not? They have some rather fabulous objects as well.”

Greece is prepared to periodically send ancient artifacts to the British Museum in return for the Parthenon Marbles, the Culture Minister told The Guardian.

Lina Mendoni promised that the London institution’s revered Greek galleries would not go empty. “Our position is clear,” she said. “Should the sculptures be reunited in Athens, Greece is prepared to organize rotating exhibitions of important antiquities that would fill the void.”



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