Destruction, Reconstruction:
Threats to Mediterranean Cultural Heritage

Virtual Exhibition, Presentation May 11, 2015, h. 6.30 p.m.
Church of San Jacopo in Campo Corbolini, Via Faenza 43, Florence

In collaboration with Lorenzo de’ Medici, Italian International Institute, Fondazione Fratelli Alinari will present Destruction, Reconstruction: Threats to Mediterranean Cultural Heritage, an online exhibition curated by M.A. students in the Museum Studies program.

The exhibition explores four Mediterranean countries that have experienced either natural or man-made devastation:  Syria, Italy, Libya and Egypt.  Encountering threats to their cultural legacies, these countries continue to protect their world heritage by promoting rebuilding efforts, reconstructing any devastation incurred while reconciling the international community in restoring historical relevance.  Destruction, Reconstruction explores the efforts of individual countries and the importance of rebuilding decimated communities.

Egypt, Nature’s Wrath:

Despite having a reputation of conflict, most of the tension in Egypt has occurred in urban areas. The relative isolation of historical sites has limited the effects of wartime destruction. Environmental factors instead reflect the greatest concern for the protection of material culture and historical sites. Traveling down the Nile River, visiting monuments both famous and lesser known the first section explores these effects across time.

Libya, Threatened, but not defeated:

Libya’s cultural heritage has been threatened many times, especially the archeological sites. As a community, Libyans have had to deal with the natural degradation of their physical history in addition to the turmoil of war threatening their people. The exhibition of Libya takes the viewer through the cultural sites that are currently endangered today, also showing their vulnerability in the past.  However, the promise of reconstruction and strength is evident through a provided comparison of the images.  The Libyan culture has been threatened on many occasions, but has stood the test of time and will not be defeated.

Syria, the Crossroads of Cultures:

From the inception of ancient civilizations, Syria has been at the crossroads of various peoples, from the expansion of the early Mesopotamians that brought the lands of Syria into Akkad to the Ottoman expansion and beyond. In addition to being a place of different civilizations and empires, religion has evolved through the centuries in Syria, beginning first with the ancient polytheistic religions and eventually expanding to include the three Abrahamic religions. Photography has allowed the viewing of unique ruins and a religious co-existence, both of which are currently under grave threat of becoming casualties of war.  Destruction as a result of nature and man have occurred throughout Syria’s complex history, as well as reconstruction, but the current situation in this region leaves the fate of many cities shown in this exhibition stabilized.

Italy, Once Under Siege, Now Re-born:

War-torn and weary, Italy suffered tremendous damage after World War II.  Its Renaissance structures were decimated along with their picturesque landscapes and sculpted cities.  The citizens of Italia committed to re-building and resurrected its structures, as well as its morale, resulting in a new-found fervor, a commitment to their cultural legacy.  Neither exempt from natural disasters nor exonerated from man-made devastation, Italy’s cities encountered floods, fires and fatalities, rendering the country Under Siege, a sub-section further examined in the exhibit through Alinari images.  As a result of reconstruction, Italy’s world heritage sites are visited and beloved by millions of tourists each year, contributing to the economic status of the city.

Destruction, Reconstruction explores avenues of re-building for the exhibit’s accompanying Mediterranean counterparts. Utilizing Alinari imagery of war-torn Syria and Libya and culturally-rich Egypt, efforts toward international preservation are explored, while attitudes toward international respect are solidified.

The curators of the exhibition are: Norman Alfe, Jordan Beatty, Lashuan Carmichael Ramos, Isaac Carreòn, Cole Fiala, Shelby Johnson, Stephanie Litton, Brandon Liddy, Ashley Neal, Tyler Ostrander

The Scientific Committee consists of:  Elisa Gradi, Massimiliano Pinucci and Emanuela Sesti.

Photograpghs: Alinari Archive, Florence

Web design: Norman Alfe, Jordan Beatty, Lashuan Carmichael Ramos, Isaac Carreòn, Cole Fiala, Shelby Johnson, Stephanie Litton, Brandon Liddy, Ashley Neal, Tyler Ostrander

Technical advisor: Massimiliano Pinucci.

For more exhibitions, events and workshops within the Museum Studies MA program, please visit this link