NEW YORK, NY, April 25, 2019— Columbia University's Italian Academy announced a $151,427 grant from Italy’s Autonomous Region of Sardinia for a series of events highlighting Sardinia’s cultural heritage.
This initiative is developed in conjunction with the Academy’s International Observatory for Cultural Heritage, which sponsors and encourages research on monuments, artifacts, and traditions.
“Given the role of Sardinia in Mediterranean culture, the project will set out to illuminate the lesser-known aspects of Sardinian culture that expand our knowledge of this remarkable place,” said Barbara Faedda, the Executive Director of the Italian Academy. “It is an island marked by its many and varied cultural contacts with outsiders—peaceful contacts as well as invasions by the Phoenicians, the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Vandals, and the Arabs, and later by Spain and Austria. Sardinia is especially rich in archaeological and historical sites ranging from its nuraghi (conical stone towers), to its more ancient cave tombs, and to its city walls that still stand intact from medieval times.”
The first event (scheduled for Spring 2020) will be an archaeological conference on the powerful Giants of Mont’e Prama, the dozens of stone statues that were found by chance in the 1970s. These towering figures—reaching to 8 feet high—are now considered markers of a cultural revolution that began in the Bronze Age. Part of the event will be devoted to the new techniques used in the meticulous restoration of these extraordinary monuments.
Over the course of the three-year program, the Italian Academy will present lectures, exhibitions, and publications on the history, art, and design of Sardinia—for the benefit of an audience drawn from New York and from across the U.S. These initiatives will be conceived in collaboration with the University of Cagliari and the University of Sassari.
The International Observatory for Cultural Heritage, at the Academy, is dedicated to the survival, protection, and conservation of cultural heritage. It is historical, practical, and theoretical. It sponsors and encourages research into monuments, artifacts, practices, and traditions. It records losses and destruction of international cultural heritage in all media and across all boundaries, and it funds and seeks funding to aid in research on and conservation of treasures at risk—whether from age or location, natural disaster, urban development, conflict, war, or other perils. This is expressed in the daily work of our Academy Fellows; in the Academy’s exhibitions and conferences, and in multi-year projects.