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April 26, 2017

MIDDLE EAST PHOTOGRAPHY PRESERVATION INITIATIVE (MEPPI) HOLDS SYMPOSIUM IN BEIRUT THAT ADDRESSES THE IMPORTANT HISTORY AND THE FUTURE OF MIDDLE EAST PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTIONS
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

  
 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Ali Sivak
Getty Communications
asivak@getty.edu
(310) 440-6473

 

MIDDLE EAST PHOTOGRAPHY PRESERVATION INITIATIVE (MEPPI) HOLDS SYMPOSIUM IN BEIRUT THAT ADDRESSES THE IMPORTANT HISTORY AND THE FUTURE OF MIDDLE EAST PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTIONS

The Photographic Legacy of the Middle East and North Africa: Priorities for Sustainability


May 3 and 4, 2017, 9:00 to 17:00
Sursock Museum Beirut, Auditorium, Level -2
In English and Arabic simultaneous translation


Image of MEPPI participants courtesy of The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES/BEIRUT – The history of photography in the Middle East and North Africa is rich and unique, offering fascinating glimpses of life, culture, and artistic expression in the region. Despite the substantial number of collections in the Middle East and work by the Arab Image Foundation to catalogue and protect them, the region still lacked instruction about their safekeeping. To respond to these issues, The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI) was developed as an effort to build the capacity of individuals and institutions in the care and preservation of photographic collections in the Middle East and North Africa. To mark the culmination of MEPPI, a symposium held May 3 and 4 at the Sursock Museum in Beirut, Lebanon will consider the future direction and sustainability of photographic preservation in the Middle East and North Africa.
 
Given the remarkable history of photography in the region, MEPPI partners have noted the urgency of safeguarding this shared photographic legacy. From 2009 to 2017, MEPPI trained over seventy participants from 52 institutions in protecting their collections, representing sixteen countries – Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
 
The symposium includes presentations and panel discussions that highlight the varied collections of photographic holdings in the region, providing examples of effective stewardship and preservation activities, and identifying challenges and opportunities for the preservation of photographic collections. Symposium partners include the Arab Image Foundation, the University of Delaware, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Getty Conservation Institute.

“The sustainability of MEPPI’s efforts depends upon a wider recognition of the value of photography as a historic and contemporary record, as well as support for preservation in this region,” says Kathleen Dardes, head of Collections at the Getty Conservation Institute and MEPPI project leader for the GCI. “Therefore, a critical complement to the training offered through MEPPI is engagement with a broader group of professional colleagues, including directors, policy and decision-makers, scholars, and others.”

As of today, close to 300 photograph collections have been identified through MEPPI’s efforts, and the research undertaken has yielded new information about collections in the region, including their size, significance, mission, condition, and accessibility.
 
MEPPI has also dedicated resources to the development of an online directory of key collections in an English-Arabic bilingual platform. Additional information about MEPPI can be found at http://www.getty.edu/conservation/our_projects/education/cons_photo/meppi.html.
 
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The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that includes the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute, and the Getty Foundation. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations:  the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

The Getty Conservation Institute works to advance conservation practice in the visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. It serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the broad dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the Conservation Institute focuses on the creation and dissemination of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage.
 
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