x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

UAE opens exhibition at UN which highlights efforts to restore Palmyra

Star of the show is a reconstruction of Roman statue destroyed by ISIL

Omar Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, opened the exhibition at the UN headquarters in New York. Courtesy Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future
Omar Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, opened the exhibition at the UN headquarters in New York. Courtesy Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and The Future

A new exhibition which documents the reconstruction of cultural objects destroyed by Isis at Palmyra has been inaugurated by the UAE at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

“The Spirit in the Stone” features a reconstruction of an ancient statue of the goddess Athena, using 3-D technology and projection.

It was opened by Omar Al Olama, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and the Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation, which is one of the partners in the project, along with the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and the Institute of Digital Archaeology at the University of Oxford.

The Minister said, “The UAE has always called for preserving the cultural heritage of nations and peoples, firmly believing that a region’s future is closely connected to saving its history and civilization.

“The UAE’s joint efforts with leading global government entities and academies to replicate the archaeological treasures of the Arab world reflects our government’s commitment to preserving history as an inspiration for future generations, and a solid foundation upon which we can build a better future for our region.”

The statue was kept in the museum at the Palmyra site and was almost destroyed by ISIL fighters.

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The project has also seen the recreation of the Arch of Triumph from Palmyra, the original of which was blown up by ISIL.

“Our Arab and Islamic civilisation is facing the greatest threat in its history with deliberate attempts to erase its glorious past and achievements, and it is our duty to preserve it," said Mr Olama.

“We chose the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria as a starting point for us and we are working to recreate its treasures that were lost, looted or destroyed. It is one of the most beautiful ancient cities in the Middle East.”