This year we received an overwhelming response to our call for entries (double that of last year’s) and we were most impressed by the strength of the work. As one of our judges remarked, “I am really impressed with the creativity, professionalism, and style of all these ads. They’d look good in anybody’s portfolio.”

“It was hard to choose between the pieces, they were all powerful. For instance, when I saw You Have Been Robbed, I felt like I had been slapped. I wanted to jump up and do something right then to stop the looting,” another judge said. This is exactly the feeling SAFE hopes to inspire in people.

A big thank you to our judges and entrants for participating in our continued efforts to raise public awareness about the looting of antiquities.

The work of our winners have received international attention on CulturCooperation, the publication IKA, and In November 2009, New Mexico State Parks ordered copies of third-prize winning poster for all 35 parks to help raise awareness about looting.

This poster endeavors to make the viewer think, ‘Someone out there has taken away my opportunity to learn something amazing.’ The viewer is meant to feel a sense of loss.First Prize Winner: Donna Yates

Donna Yates

First-prize winner, recipient of the $250 award Donna Yates
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

“I have been passionate about archaeology for nearly as long as I can remember. When I finally excavated for the first time in Mesoamerica, I was struck by the widespread destruction of monuments and sites from large scale looting. Though I continued to participate in normal archaeological field projects, my growing concern for the stability and sustainability of archaeological sites eventually lead me across the ocean to Cambridge’s heritage management program and to the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre of the McDonald Institute of Archaeology. I was drawn to this contest because I am passionate about this issue. I want to make people feel the loss that I feel and hopefully inspire them to act.

Mayan tomb ad

First Prize Winner: Donna Yates

Though I liked the posters that won last year, I decided on a different approach. The looting situation is dire. It can’t be made light of. A poster needs to make a statement and then invite the viewer to dig deeper. I have found that the public only responds when they are made to feel like they, personally, are being cheated out of something and that it is up to them to take the next step.

This poster endeavors to make the viewer think, “Someone out there has taken away my opportunity to learn something amazing.” The viewer is meant to feel a sense of loss. The image of the Rio Azul tomb is a colorful landscape full of potential but lacking what the viewer really desires. The viewer is shown an enclosed space that is the epitome of Indiana Jonesesque archaeological ideal. Based on the paintings and empty niches, the viewer imagines this tomb was filled with the great mysteries of humanity and the incredible secrets of the past. Yet they are told that not only will archaeologists and scholars never know what was originally in the tomb, they personally will never know what the Maya left for them.

I showed this poster to friends without the SAFE web site address to see what message people came away with. All of those with whom I shared the poster instantly said, “This is great, but now I want to know how I can help.” Just the response I was looking for. ” —Donna Yates

Joe Chan

Second-prize winners (shared) Joe Chan, Gianna Rey, Alex Ciociola, Stacey Sarakinotis
Boston University, Massachusetts USA

“The concept originally came about from a small fu-dog statue that my family keeps in the foyer of my house. For the longest time, the only things I knew about it was that it represented something from China and that it made a rather good doorstop. Only from a recent course in Chinese civilizations did I discover the role it played in Chinese culture and mythology, and the Group agreed that the fu-dog would be an excellent example of the historical damage of removing a similar object from a historical site, with a not-so-happy outcome as I experienced.

The Group decided to keep the ad as minimalist as possible, to offset the “exotic” lure of the golden fu-dog. Presented against a sterile and cold wash of white, the only contextual clues as to what this object might be are the whispers of text around the statue. However, these pieces of text are inadequate to draw any conclusions about the golden, mysterious animal, and in removing this treasure from its context, we lose a far more important treasure, never to be regained again…

About me:
Born and raised in Massachusetts, I am a 19-year young sophomore at Boston University, studying Film and Television in the School of Communication.

The group heard about the contest through our communications teacher Kathryn Burak, who used the contest in conjunction with her lessons on how to create an effective public announcement campaign. I personally was interested in the challenge of promoting the awareness of a relatively obscure problem in the world. Also, I’ve always dabbled in art, and it gave me a good opportunity to use those skills into creating a piece that can be admired for more than aesthetics.

Boston University is a large metropolitan school that prides itself in not only training its students in the tools used in their prospective fields, but educating them about how to employ these skills to tackle the problems of the future.

Personally, I appreciate how my specific school has sharpened my communication skills, an essential tool in anyone’s cognitive toolbox.

Again, thank you for this opportunity!” Joseph Chan

Second-prize winners (shared) Jennifer Estrada, Mallory Finley, Stella Shin, Jane Kim
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts USA

Third-prize winner Evangelia Kranioti
Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France

We will never know

Second Prize Winner (shared): Joe Chan, Gianna Rey, Alex Ciociola, Stacey Sarakinotis

World missing

Secon Prize Winner (shared): Jennifer Estrada, Mallory Finley, Stella Shin, Jane Kim

Looting robs postcard

Third Prize Winner: Evangelia Kranioti