The Museum of Classical Archaeology (MOCA) is proud to host the exhibition Bodies Past and Present, featuring the work of eleven Cambridge University students from the Department of Architecture and the Faculties of Classics and English. Their site-specific works respond to the sculpture in our Gallery in media ranging from oils to plaster casts.

These responses make us see the Museum’s Greco-Roman bodies differently. They make these bodies more alien and more relevant. What does it mean to look at ancient representations of the body from the vantage point of the present? Why represent the human body at all? And why that vision of the human body? How human(e) is it?

Our talented artists come at these questions visually and self-consciously, privileging the personal, the political, the visceral and contemporary. In a world of gender wars, #Me Too, Black Lives Matter, social media, robots and AI, these questions are as urgent as ever. And they are urgent for the Museum of Classical Archaeology: Classics is a subject that hasn’t always felt accessible to everyone. What if our students’ art can effect change? Certainly, its perspective on the body connects the past with the present, the individual with community, and Cambridge with the world at large.

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