Cultures in the Crossfire: Stories from Syria and Iraq
Nimrud. Aleppo. Palmyra. Ebla. These ancient sites and many others in Iraq and Syria have found their way to the top of recent international news as the destruction of cultural heritage becomes both a by-product and a tactic of warfare throughout the region. This exhibition considers what is really at stake, why it matters, the human story accompanying this unprecedented loss and what is being done to prevent further losses. The exhibition explores the rich cultural heritage, human diversity and achievements—as well as the movements and displacements of people and objects caught in the crossfire through more than 50 objects from the museum's Near East and Mediterranean collections, as well as a range of Arabic manuscripts from the University of Pennsylvania libraries, music and sounds, and documentary film clips. Contemporary artwork from Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj is interwoven throughout the exhibition to provide an "art intervention"—a modern-day response.