We talked to Leila Khoury, a Syrian-American graduate student who is currently working toward a Master of Architecture and Certificate in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This was such an incredible conversation about a topic that does not get nearly enough attention: the theft and cultural appropriation of cultural and historic objects from so much of the world by, namely, Europeans and Americans. Leila has a powerful piece called Near East, which critiques the forced migration of Levantine artifacts into European collections. For example, at the Louvre, Leila noticed some of these artifacts that were not only completely out of their element, but also not given the care and respect that should be there. This was such an important reminder of how desensitized our education system, and our society in general (in our case, society in the U.S.), has conditioned us to become about this rampant history of theft and disrespect of artifacts.
Check out Leila’s website to learn more:
Also, as mentioned in the episode, here are some links about some projects and artists brought up:
Lee Bey, http://leebey.com/, book: Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side
South Side Home Movie Project, https://sshmp.uchicago.edu/
Mona Gazala, https://monagazala.webs.com/