Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture
2316 West 1st Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
Dr. Laura Tedesco, Cultural Heritage Program Manager, U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
The deculturization of Afghanistan, best known in our time from the Taliban’s devastation to the Buddhas of Bamiyan, has continued uninterrupted since 2001 through a sophisticated network of illegal excavations, the lucrative traffic in antiquities, urban development, and general neglect of the nation’s heritage. Since 2002 there has also been an intense and steady effort by various donor nations and NGOs to preserve and document Afghanistan’s built and intangible heritage. Since 2002 the United States contributed more than $25 million towards cultural preservation activities in Afghanistan. Projects cover a broad range of Afghanistan’s rich and diverse heritage, including the restoration of historic sites and monuments across the country and the preservation, through documentation of intangible heritage traditions in poetry, music and artistic traditions in calligraphy and woodworking. A large part of this support has been directed towards the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul, the nation’s primary repository of archaeological and ethnographic patrimony, which was severely damaged during the civil war in the 1990s with 70% of its collection looted, its catalogue burned, and many pieces destroyed under the Taliban’s mandate of iconoclasm.
Lecture sponsored by Greg and Catharine Roth, William Appleton and Skip Kuck.