NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
London, United Kingdom, 2008/07/09 - The campaign for the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece has moved up a gear with the appointment by Marbles Reunited of a full-time Campaign Director, Thomas Dowson, who will be based in the organisation's office in the West End of London.
The campaign for the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece has moved up a gear with the appointment by Marbles Reunited of a full-time Campaign Director, Thomas Dowson, who will be based in the organisation's office in the West End of London. The appointment of Thomas was warmly welcomed by Andrew George MP, Chairman of Marbles Reunited.
Says, Andrew George, "When the New Acropolis Museum opens later this year, the absence of the marbles will be obvious for all the world to see. The British Museum and the British Government could of course continue dragging it out, but that will look excruciatingly embarrassing as it would send out an undesirable impression of Britain's arrogance. We have appointed a Campaign Director to up our profile, to enable an alternative dialogue between Greece and Britain. Thomas Dowson has a fine pedigree and the energy to see a job through."
Thomas trained as an archaeologist in South Africa at the University of Witwatersrand, where he obtained a first class honours degree in Archaeology. He has curated a number of museum exhibitions and has held several research and teaching posts at universities in England and South Africa. Thomas has contributed to television documentaries in both countries and has a particular interest in the socio-politics of art and archaeology, including the repatriation of art, the exhibition of prehistoric and ancient arts, and heritage management.
His previous campaign experience includes challenging the Eurocentric agendas of art galleries in early 1990s South Africa, daring these institutions to include on their programmes exhibitions of southern African rock arts. As a result, the Johannesburg Art Gallery invited Thomas to curate a major exhibition on San hunter-gatherer art past and present. The exhibition was opened in August 1994 by the first ANC Minister for Culture and Education and representatives of San communities.
Of his new appointment, Thomas said, "I am delighted to be taking up this post at a time when the New Acropolis Museum is on the point of opening, and when public opinion is moving in our favour. I believe that there is no valid legal, political, moral or academic case that can be made against the return of the Parthenon marbles to Athens. I take the view that there is no obstacle to their reunification other than political and personal obstruction, and these are obstacles that can be overcome."
He adds, “My first task is to write the Marbles Reunited’s new website to be launched next month. Our website will counter decisively the common misconceptions employed by those who argue the Elgin marbles should remain in the British Museum.”