Home Forums Who owns the past? Who owns the past? Reply To: Who owns the past?


I think most importantly we all own the past. I think it’s only a nationalistic and borderline racist rhetoric that doesn’t recognize the interpollination that has occurred culturally and genetically all across the world. Especially for a work which goes back thousands of years, obviously the culture that lead to that artwork also contributed to the lives, in one way or another, of everyone who came after. I think the strongest argument for keeping a relic nearby where it was found is that in many ways the land shapes a people. For instance, ancient Greek art is heavily influenced by the sea, the volcanoes, the availability of marble, the proximity of other cultures. All these factors made Ancient Greek culture what it was, so whatever people continue to live in that place will also to a degree partake in those same factors and so the experience of the art may be enriched for them. The fact that it is more relevant is an argument for them holding onto a piece, however I don’t think it implies ownership, but more of a trust or stewardship. Ideally a people would recognize the relevance that world art and world heritage has for everyone, and be open to share that as widely as possible. Often however people jealously guard their identities and feel the need to exclude others.