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Can Greece and the U.K. Finally Broker a Deal to Return the Elgin Marbles to Athens? – Smithsonian Magazine

Past Imperfect
New talks raise old questions about the ancient Parthenon sculptures
Elizabeth Djinis
Daily Correspondent
When it comes to the repatriation of art and artifacts to their home countries, one ethical dilemma rules them all: the Greek Parthenon sculptures housed at London’s British Museum. What is the rightful home of these friezes and metopes that once decorated the Acropolis’ temple of Athena—Athens, where they originated, or London, their home for the last 200-plus years?
An answer to that question is coming ever closer as Greece and the United Kingdom’s ministers of culture are set to meet in coming weeks, according to a report from the United Nations’ world heritage organization Unesco. While a date for the meeting was not given, an agency document indicates the discussion is “about to be arranged in due course.”
Resolution has been a long time coming. The case was first submitted to the Unesco committee in 1984, the report says, while Greece made its first request to the U.K. a year earlier. In September 2021, the body recommended that Greece and the U.K. “intensify their efforts with a view to reaching a satisfactory settlement of this long-standing issue.” During that same session, the Unesco committee called on the U.K. “to reconsider its stand and proceed to a bona fide dialogue with Greece on the matter.”
The sculptures are commonly known as the Elgin marbles, so named for Thomas Bruce, Seventh Earl of Elgin, their rescuer or looter, depending on your perspective.
From 1801 to 1805, Elgin had “about half of the remaining sculptures” of the Parthenon sent to Britain, as well as “sculptural and architectural elements” from other parts of the Acropolis, per the British Museum’s website. The museum claims that Elgin acted “under the oversight of the relevant authorities” and that in 1816, before entering the artifacts into the British Museum’s collection, a Parliamentary Select Committee that investigated his tactics “found [them] to be entirely legal.”
“In total, the British Museum owns 15 metopes, 17 pedimental figures and a 247-foot section of the original frieze, all of which the institution maintains were acquired legally during a time in which Greece was under Ottoman rule,” writes Artnet’s Dorian Batycka.
Created between 447 B.C.E. and 432 B.C.E., the friezes held by the museum depict the Panathenaic festival, an Athenian festival in honor of Athena. Metopes, which would have stood atop the temple columns, depict a battle of Centaurs and Lapiths. Though some of the figures show their age, the artwork as a whole gives a sense of the magnificence of the ancient world.
The man who would bring these antiquities to Britain did so in his role as its ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Even then, his decision was controversial; “calls to return the sculptures to Athens began in Elgin’s own day,” Bruce Clark reports for Smithsonian magazine.
At first, Elgin’s project was only supposed to entail “drawing, documenting and molding antiquities.” But eventually, his personal assistant procured a permit from the Ottomans allowing their team not just to do the former but also to “take away some pieces of stone with old figures or inscriptions.”
It is difficult to ascribe just one motive to Elgin’s actions. On paper, he claimed that he was saving the treasures from near-certain demise at the hands of the Ottomans. Then again, he also hoped to decorate his house with ancient artifacts.
Hundreds of years later, Britain has been largely one-note on its response to Greece. In 2009, Greece unveiled its sparkling new Acropolis Museum, complete with plaster casts where the Elgin Marbles might one day reside.
But last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reiterated that the sculptures had been acquired legally, reports Hyperallergic’s Elaine Velie. In February, the U.K.’s arts minister, Stephen Parkinson, noted that the British Museum “operates independently of the government,” saying that decisions about their collections were up to them.
For its part, Greece’s own Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, called the British Museum’s decision “an anachronistic attitude of complete denial, recycling myths, sophistries and even falsehoods,” reports Greek City Times’ George Vardas.
When repatriation efforts fail, Greece has found different ways to recover lost artifacts from other countries in the past. In January, Sicily’s archaeological museum sent a fragment of the Parthenon to the Acropolis Museum on a long-term loan, reports Hyperallergic’s Valentina Di Liscia.
Whether the British Museum and the United Kingdom might consider such an agreement remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the two-century controversy about the fate of the ancient friezes will prevail—and millions of visitors a year will view the artwork in the country that preserved (or plundered) them.
Elizabeth Djinis | | READ MORE
Elizabeth Djinis is a writer and journalist based in Rome, Italy. Her work has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Glamour and Teen Vogue, among others.
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Tattoo Artist, Entrepreneur, and Oil Painter Kirby van Beek Makes a Mark in the Industry

Kirby van Beek, a talented tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and oil painter, has emerged as a prominent figure in the world of tattooing, showcasing his expertise in black and grey realism. Known for his distinctive designs and captivating portraits with a dark twist, Kirby has established himself as a highly regarded artist, earning recognition both locally and internationally.

Kirby’s journey as a tattoo artist began at the age of 18 when he taught himself the art form while simultaneously pursuing his education in forensic science. During this time, he displayed unparalleled dedication, working at a morgue during the week and honing his tattooing skills during weekends and spare hours. Kirby’s passion for tattooing led him to work at various tattoo studios in the Netherlands, solidifying his experience and expertise in the field.

About Kirby van Beek:

Kirby van Beek is a talented tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and oil painter based in [City]. Renowned for his expertise in black and grey realism, Kirby’s distinctive designs and captivating portraits with a dark twist have earned him a prominent position in the industry. With a passion for tattooing and oil painting, Kirby aspires to become a globally recognized artist, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art.

«The things I love most about tattooing is meeting different clients and getting to know them on a personal level during a long tattoo session,» says Kirby. «There is nothing more rewarding than tattooing individuals who appreciate my art so much that they choose to wear it on their skin for life.»

Specializing in realistic black and grey tattoos, portrait tattoos, and horror tattoos, Kirby’s work has garnered attention both nationally and internationally. His talents have been showcased at several tattoo conventions abroad, and his captivating designs have been featured in prominent tattoo magazines. Additionally, he has been recognized by esteemed publications such as LINDA magazine in the Netherlands and the local newspaper BN de Stem. Furthermore, Kirby’s exceptional skills led him to participate as a tattoo artist in the Dutch version of MTV’s Just Tattoo of Us.

Looking ahead, Kirby aspires to become a world-renowned tattoo artist and oil painter, with a particular focus on portrait tattoos and dark horror tattoos.

His ultimate goal is to reach clients and famous individuals around the globe, sharing his unique artistry and leaving an indelible mark on the industry. In the future, Kirby envisions opening an art show to showcase his diverse body of work.

To learn more about Kirby van Beek and explore his captivating portfolio, visit his official Instagram page (@kirbyvanbeek) or his website

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DJ Khenya Takes Center Stage at Blue Marlin Ibiza, Spreading Joy and Connection

The music of DJ Khenya pulsates with rhythm and emotion. A rich mélange of sun-kissed sounds that blend percussive beats with indie and deep house. The artist’s journey to Ibiza has laid the foundation for a musical expression that communicates joy and connectivity. Taking the reins at Blue Marlin Ibiza, Khenya’s vibrations will inspire dance floor dreamers to move and let go.

From the stage at Blue Marlin Ibiza, DJ Khenya has shared experiences alongside some of the most influential names in the music industry. When asked about the impact of these experiences, the artist responded humbly: «The truth is I feel lucky. I have total admiration for them as they are a source of inspiration for me.»

The energy at Blue Marlin Ibiza is unlike any other, according to DJ Khenya. He describes the place as «a life experience,» synonymous with summer and with all the ingredients to feel in a state of bliss when you’re there. He thanks the team for being like a family to him and for everything they’ve done.

This summer, DJ Khenya will take his audience on a journey filled with unforgettable emotions. He comments, «My goal is to transmit uplifting and unforgettable sensations. My audience is what sets my heart on fire, and I want them to feel my desire to make them dance.»

The path that led DJ Khenya to become a DJ began in Havacia, Cuba, where he grew up in an environment where rhythm, dance, and poetry are like the air we breathe. With son and salsa running through his veins, his first experience at an electronic music party in the early 2000s marked a shift in his life. Khenya recalls hearing ‘The Underground’ by Celeda and says, «It was a different Cuba, and I loved it. I think from that moment, something changed inside me. A seed had been planted, and life would take me in that direction.»

Having traveled the world and now based in Ibiza, DJ Khenya reflects on how these experiences have shaped his identity as an artist. He comments, «Traveling the world is a privilege that every human being should have, especially an artist because when you have these experiences, you can understand different ways of life and the musicality of each place. Creativity is born from that knowledge, and I still have a lot to learn in that sense.»

This summer, DJ Khenya promises to take Blue Marlin Ibiza to new heights with his unique music and his desire to make everyone dance. The experience is guaranteed to be a celebration of life, joy, and connection through music.

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Oliver Rouz: Weaving Ink and Inspiration into a Legacy

Born on February 13th, 1988, Oliver Rouz’s path to success is one marked by determination, passion, and the pursuit of creative endeavors. From a young age, Oliver exhibited a profound love for various forms of creativity, which ultimately led him to become one of the country’s most celebrated tattoo artists.

During his school years, Oliver’s artistic talent set him apart. His favorite cartoon characters became his canvas as he tirelessly recreated them in his own style. However, drawing was merely a pastime during his teenage years, a source of pleasure until music took center stage in his life.

In 2005, Oliver formed the «Fairy Tale Jelissa Rose» band, a pivotal moment that expanded his horizons. Immersed in the music community, he developed a newfound fascination with tattoos and ink artistry, spurred by the band’s association with the tattoo culture.

A serendipitous encounter with Artem at the «Quick Silver» shop in Moscow in 2010 marked a turning point. Artem’s influence led Oliver to consider a life-altering decision. By 2012, Oliver, now ignited by a passion for tattoos, made a bold move to another city, all while nurturing his tattoo aspirations.

Artem’s transformation into a tattoo artist himself inspired Oliver further. As fate would have it, an opportunity arose in 2012 for them to collaborate and open their tattoo studio in Moscow. This venture required Oliver’s dedicated efforts, alongside his commitment to saving funds to fuel their creative endeavor.

Oliver’s tattooing prowess flourished within a year, prompting a return to his hometown to establish several home-like studios. Yet, he recognized that true growth beckoned him back to Moscow. Thus, in 2017, he joined Good Hands Tattoo, laying the foundation for his continued ascent.

Oliver’s indomitable spirit and devotion to his craft bore fruit, as evidenced by his stint at Black Point studio, born out of a collective dream. His trajectory exemplifies the power of dedication, leading him to become a recognized tattoo luminary within the nation.

Oliver’s journey, however, extends beyond tattooing. From his early affinity for music, highlighted by the formation of his punk rock band at 14, to his involvement in the music industry and flirtation with global recognition, his story embodies the resilience required to navigate creative industries.

A pivotal moment arrived in 2021 when Oliver, undeterred by previous setbacks, chose to channel his creative energy into designing game art. Leaving behind a stable job, he invested his savings of around $5,000 to embark on a transformative journey. Guided by Hexeth’s interview and tutorials, Oliver delved into the realm of game design.

Fueled by dedication and a newfound purpose, Oliver’s creative expression culminated in designing elements for popular games like CS:GO and RUST. Through unwavering commitment and rigorous self-education, he harnessed the potential of his artistic flair.

Today, Oliver Rouz’s name resonates as a testament to the potential of human determination. His path from a young artist with a penchant for creation to a revered tattoo and game artist serves as an inspiration to countless dreamers. Oliver’s legacy continues to evolve, as he pushes the boundaries of his craft and inspires others to chase their passions unrelentingly.

For more information and to view Oliver’s work, visit his Instagram profile: @oliverrouz.

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