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2023-02-05 22:21:24

    Russian Art Curators Have Helped Loot Dozens of Ukraine Museums

    Russian art curators have reportedly led raids on approximately 30 Ukrainian museums since last years invasion, guiding the pilfering of ancient artifacts from the war-torn country.

    Across Ukraine, museums have been looted of their famed Scythian artifacts, which were left behind when the Eastern Iranian nomadic people migrated from Central Asia to modern-day Ukraine and Southern Russia between the 7th and 3rd century BC, according to the Sunday Times of London.

    The raids have reportedly led to the theft of Scythian ornaments, sculptures, paintings, icons and busts worth millions.

    “The orders are coming from someone pretty high up in the Kremlin,” said Sir Antony Beevor, the historian and author of “Russia: Revolution and Civil War” told the Sunday Times. “Putin’s propaganda is that Ukraine as a country doesn’t exist, it’s part of Russia — so they can grab anything they want.”

    Others see the raids as a way for Russia to wipe out Ukraine’s cultural identity.

    “It’s a deliberate policy to destroy the historical memory of the Ukrainian people,” said Alexsandr Symonenko, a Ukrainian archaeologist and Scythian specialist at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences.

    The first raid came last March, shortly after Russia’s invasion, when a curator was kidnapped and thousands of pieces of artwork were stolen during the occupation of Mariupol and Melitopol.

    Russian troops stole nearly 200 items from the Museum of Local Lore in Melitopol, including multiple 2,300-year-old gold pieces from the Scythian empire, according to the Museums Association.

    The objects were reportedly selected by a man in a white coat who broke into the basement of the museum with Russian soldiers and selected what to steal with “long tweezers and special gloves,” said Leila Ibrahimova, the caretaker of the museum.

    The largest Russian art heist targeted the Kherson Regional Art Museum where five trucks were used to steal over 15,000 pieces of artwork.

    One canvas was too large to take, so it was left at the door, and an ancient cannon was also left behind because it was too heavy to move.

    “It felt like I was losing my mind, that I was in a bad dream,” said the museum director, Alina Dotsenko. “It was terribly painful to see it so empty, this museum that was my pride, my love, my life.”

    By Jacob Geanous.


    F-22 Fighter Jet Shoots Down Chinese Spy Balloon

    A U.S. military fighter jet shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina on Saturday, a week after it first entered U.S. airspace and triggered a dramatic -- and public -- spying saga that worsened Sino-U.S. relations.

    A F-22 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia -- took the shot at 2:39 p.m. (1939 GMT), using a single AIM-9X supersonic, heat-seeking, air-to-air missile, a senior U.S. military official said.

    The balloon was shot down about six nautical miles off the U.S. coast of the Atlantic Ocean, over relatively shallow water, potentially aiding efforts to recover elements of the Chinese surveillance equipment over the coming days, U.S. officials said.

    Hamedine Kane The School of Mutants 1, 2019

    Numbered 3 of an edition of 4+2AP (on accompanying certificate of authenticity), printed 2022. Digital photograph printed on Hahemühle Photorag. 80 by 118cm., 31½ by 46½in. (image size); 89 by 128cm., 35 by 50⅜in. (sheet size). Framed: 92 by 131cm., 36¼ by 51⅝in.

    The School of Mutants 1 (2021) is a photograph of the abandoned campus of the African Future University. The work forms part of a broader research project, L’École des Mutants, a collaborative art and research platform co-initiated by Kane and artist Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro in Dakar. The project revolves around the forgotten history of radical educational experiments in Senegal. The futuristic ruins of the University of the African Future, a pan-African academic utopia co-financed by many African states and Taiwan in the 1990s, stand abandoned in Sébikotane, a rural suburb of Dakar. Not far away are the remains of the colonial school William Ponty, where the first West and Central African independence fighters were trained. The resulting image is charged with the convergence of past, present and future possibilities, while the uncompleted campus stands as a monument to dreams deferred.

    Gustavo Urruty The Spring With Gatsby (from the Series New York. « Manhattan 90s »).

    Signed, titled, dated 1994, numbered 1/7, signed with artist’s initials and dated 2022 on the reverse Photographic print mounted on aluminum. 33 x 50 cm ; 13 x 19 11/16 in. 37,2 x 54,3 cm ; 14 5/8 x 21 3/8 in. Conceived in 1994 and executed in 2022, this work is number 1 from an edition of 7.

    Bulgari | 'Serpenti' Diamond and Onyx Bracelet

    Designed as a coiled serpent set with brilliant-cut and pear-shaped diamonds, highlighted with onyx scales, mounted in 18 karat pink gold, inner circumference approximately 140mm, expandable, signed Bvlgari, numbered, Italian assay and maker's marks.

    Bulgari | 'Monete' Antique Coin, Emerald, Coral and Diamond Pendent Necklace

    Featuring a bezel-set antique coin depicting a male in profile, the reverse depicting a seated figure with a bird, the bezel inscribed 'Macedonia-Alexander III 336 - 323 B.C.' as a reference to Alexander the Great, encircled with carved coral and emeralds, highlighted with brilliant-cut diamond-set edges and surmount, to the neckchain, mounted in 18 karat pink gold, length approximately 400mm, signed Bvlgari, numbered, Italian assay and maker's marks.

    An Egyptian Indurated Limestone Relief Fragment 19th/20th Dynasty, 1292-1075 B.C.

    Carved in sunk relief with Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys facing left, each enveloped in a shroud and wearing a broad collar and characteristic crown, inscriptions in the field; traces of red pigment. 28.9 by 37.5 by 3.8 cm.