This exhibition was the third project in the Wounded Archeology series, invented and implemented by the National Archaeological Museum of Aquileia and the president of the Aquileia Foundation, Antonio Zanardi Landi, a diplomat and former Italian ambassador to the Russian Federation (we also wrote about one of the previous exhibitions). "Faces of Palmyra" aroused great interest: in the summer months alone, the exposition was visited by more than 12 thousand people, which is a very large number for a city with a population of 3.5 thousand.
Curators Marta Novello and Cristiano Tiussi have collected in the museum halls sixteen works originating from ancient Palmyra and stored in various collections: the Vatican, the Capitoline Museums, the Giuseppe Tucci Museum of Oriental Art, the Giovanni Baracco Museum of Ancient Sculpture in Rome, the Milan City Archaeological Museum, the Museum The Holy Land in Jerusalem, as well as from private collections. They are complemented by eight works from ancient Aquileia: they demonstrate, through formal proximity, the deep cultural connection between the two most important cities in ancient and early Christian history.
At the same time, an exhibition of photographs taken in March 1996 by the photographer Elio Ciol was opened in the new exhibition hall of the Aquileia Domus - the Episcopal Palace, and a sculpture by the contemporary Syrian artist Elias Naman "Memories of Xenovius" was installed in Capitolo Square.
Of course, the key idea of the project was not only to demonstrate the depth of centuries-old cultural contacts between different parts of the Mediterranean, but also to draw attention to the state of the ruined ancient city and the process of its restoration. Research begun after the liberation of Palmyra showed that the city was damaged by 30%, but fortunately, the wreck remained intact and could be easily reunited. Selected pieces of sculptural and architectural decor, taken away by terrorists for the purpose of selling art treasures on the black market, were found with the participation of the Special Carabinieri Corps for the Protection of Heritage. The exhibition featured films - "Destruction of memory" by Australian director Tim Slade and "That day in Palmyra" (Quel giorno a Plamira) by Italian Alberto Castellani, which includes one of the latest interviews with archaeologist Khaled al-Assad killed by terrorists in Palmyra on August 18, 2015.
The exhibition not only drew attention to the artistic and architectural heritage of Syrian cities affected by terrorists, but also actualized the importance of art monuments as witnesses to the cultural community of Europe and the Middle East.