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ISIS blamed for destruction of Grand al-Nuri mosque

Plus: Syrian refugees to be trained to restore damaged heritage sites | Thai soldiers censor exhibition at Bangkok gallery | and Erin B. Coe to leave Hyde Collection for Palmer Museum

22 June 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

ISIS blamed for destruction of Mosul’s Grand al-Nuri mosque | The al-Nuri mosque, parts of which date back to the 12th century, has been destroyed in the battle for Mosul. Iraqi commanders claim that ISIS blew up the mosque deliberately as US-backed forces advanced on the stronghold. ISIS, however, have issued a statement claiming that the destruction was the result of a US airstrike. The mosque, famous for its listing minaret (now toppled), is a symbol of Iraqi culture, and had particular significance for ISIS as the site where their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a new ‘caliphate’ in 2014. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has stated that the structure’s demolition symbolises ISIS’s ‘declaration of defeat’.

Syrian refugees to be trained to restore damaged heritage sites | The World Monuments Fund has launched a £500,000 drive to train Syrians living in and around the Zaatari refugee camp in traditional stone masonry, reports the Art Newspaper. The scheme, which is due to launch in August in the Jordanian border town of Mafraq, will see refugees learning skills needed to repair heritage sites damaged in the ongoing civil war.

Thai soldiers censor exhibition at Bangkok gallery | Members of the Thai military ordered Bangkok’s Gallery Ver to remove a number of photographs from an exhibition, reports Khaosod. The photographs, taken by Harit Srikhao, were part of a larger display addressing the Thai government’s crackdown on protestors in 2010. Harit says that although the censure was ‘not beyond expectation’, the removal of the pictures have rendered the show ‘incomplete’.

Erin B. Coe to leave Hyde Collection for Palmer Museum | Hyde Collection director Erin B. Coe is to step down from her position at the end of July to take the helm at Penn State University’s Palmer Museum of Art. During her tenure at the former institution, Coe oversaw a successful fundraising drive for an expansion project, adding its first new exhibition space in almost 30 years. Businesswoman Anne Saile will take over as interim director until Coe’s successor is identified.

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