We have a complex relationship with cultural heritage. In celebrating its riches, we must also acknowledge the challenges it presents.
For the third in our series of Against Disappearance discussions, we will be uncovering hidden stories from city neighbourhoods, nightlife and cabaret cultures and how we re-tell uncomfortable aspects of history in archival displays.
Societies, demographics and customs develop and alter. Experiences of previous co-existence, alternative lifestyles and marginal lives become invisible either by simple acts of forgetting or deliberate erasure. Cultural heritage protection enables us to peel away layers of previous presences. Contemporary artists approach hidden existences with curiosity and intensity, finding signs of former lives and relating them to our current discourse on identity, home and personal histories.
Date: Tuesday 13 July 2021
Time: 18.00 BST (London)
Journalist and commentator Jo Glanville will lead a panel to explore fascinating examples of hidden heritage from Turkey, Egypt and Iraq. Visual artist Hera Büyüktasçian talks about her collages currently displayed in the British Museum’s exhibition Reflections: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa. They are based on research into ethnically and religiously diverse neighbourhoods in Turkey and India. Choreographer and director Adham Hafez will discuss his re-imagining of the lively Cairo club scene at the turn of the 20th century in HaRaKa Platform’s performance Cairo KitKat Club. Rashad Salim has worked to document, protect and revive the endangered craft heritage of Iraq: Ancient Mesopotamian boatbuilding techniques currently feature in Iraq's national participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021.
We will also learn more of the rich history of the port city of Basra in Iraq which has often been turbulent and sometimes glamorous but has been hidden from the world and from its own citizens behind war and devastation in recent decades. Tamara Alattiya and Dr Noorah Al-Gailani discuss the project to renew the city’s main museum, located in a repurposed palace originally built for Saddam Hussain, which aims to recover that history and connect with popular memory and civic pride.