The initiative aims to raise £35,000, which is the amount paid to Elgin
London, Thanasis Gavos
A symbolic initiative to further highlight the request for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures begins today, on the day of the national anniversary, the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures in partnership with members of the Greek community in Britain.
In particular, a campaign is being launched for the repayment of the money paid by the British Parliament in 1816 to buy the Sculptures from Lord Elgin, following a valuation by a special committee.
With discussions between the Greek authorities and the British Museum over the fate of the Sculptures now revealed, the initiative aims to raise £35,000, the amount paid to Elgin when he sought a way out of selling the Sculptures under threat of financial ruin.
“It is our intention to return to the British taxpayer the funds used for this acquisition as a goodwill gesture and to ensure that in the eventual reunification of these works of art in Athens, the contribution of the British Parliament to ensuring the integrity of these monuments,” said the professor Paul Cartledge, former holder of the Chair of Hellenic Culture A.G. Leventis at the University of Cambridge and Vice-President of the British Commission for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles.
The purpose of the initiative is to return the amount to the new Minister of Culture of the Sunak government, Lucy Fraser.
However, as stated by Aygustinos Galiasosa well-known and active member of the Greek community in London who now becomes a member of the Committee, “in the event that the government does not want or cannot receive the capital we will collect, we will of course be happy to donate it to the British Museum”.
He added that “there is no doubt that the arrival of the Sculptors in London caused a huge and lasting interest in ancient Greece, for which we can be grateful – but after two centuries it is time for them to return to Athens and rejoin the remaining Sculptures in the location from which they were mistakenly removed.”
The President of the British Commission, the well-known Shakespearean actress Dame Janet Suzman, explained the rationale behind the initiative: “The talks between the British Museum and the Greek authorities represent the most meaningful opportunity for progress for a generation. It is natural to point out that any reunion will be accompanied by the sending of selected Greek treasures to London in return. We want to recognize the contribution of the British taxpayer.”
Details of the new campaign and how to contribute can be found online at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/reunify-the-parthenon-sculptures
The British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles (BCRPM) is made up of distinguished British academics, artists and other figures in British public life, such as the Greek-British author Victoria Hislop. Since 1983 the respective members of the Commission have kept the demand for reunification high on the British agenda, playing a key role in bringing important figures and the wider British public opinion into the pro-reunification camp.
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