Germany

Revised Guidelines On Colonial Collections: Germany Not Advanced With Restitution Of Looted African Artefacts

Title: Revised Guidelines On Colonial Collections: Germany Not Advanced With Restitution Of Looted African Artefacts
Author: Dr. Kwame Opoku
Media Outlet: Modern Ghana
Publish Date: July 28, 2019

“(…) Instead of being an instrument for aiding restitution, provenance research has become independent of restitution and risks dominating restitution which it may well postpone. The Guidelines declare that restitution should not be an end in itself, but they make provenance research an end in itself.

These Guidelines which have undergone a second revision after a year of publication may again undergo another revision. Meanwhile Africans will be waiting for concrete restitutions whilst the scholars keep us busy with their provenance research and revisions of Guidelines. One wonders what German institutions were doing in the last hundred years.”

Europe and burden of looted African artefacts: Reparation or repatriation?

Title: Europe and burden of looted African artefacts: Reparation or repatriation?
Author: Gregory Austin Nwakunor
Media Outlet: The Guardian Arts
Publish Date: June 23, 2019

“Aside from Nigeria, Egypt has equally been consistent in their campaign to recover looted artefacts. Last week, Egypt began a process to halt the auction of a 3,000-year-old stone sculpture of the famed boy pharaoh Tutankhamun at Christie’s in London, while the auction house said its sale was legal.

The statue — a brown quartzite head depicting King Tut — is scheduled to be auctioned off in July, and could generate more than $5 million, according to Christie’s.”

Germany Sets Guidelines for Repatriating Colonial-Era Artifacts

Title: Germany Sets Guidelines for Repatriating Colonial-Era Artifacts
Author: Christopher F. Schuetze
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: March 15, 2019

(…) Hannes Hartung, a lawyer specializing in art and artifacts who is also a lecturer at the University of Munich, said that the newly signed agreement was “soft law.” The pact is not legally binding and does not create any reliable legal framework, he added. “These basic points will not make any legal claims in Germany easier,” he said in an interview.

A major hurdle for legal claims is the question of who can represent groups of peoples, tribes or families who owned the artifacts more than a century ago.

But Klaus Lederer, the Berlin senator responsible for culture, wrote in an email exchange that the agreement was an important first step in a “process of discussion,” which German states need to follow up. “It was important to me that colonial injustice is clearly named as such,” he said.”

Germany allocates €1.9m for museums to research colonial-era acquisitions

Title: Germany allocates €1.9m for museums to research colonial-era acquisitions
Author: Catherine Hickley
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: February 5, 2019

“An eight-member panel including Bénédicte Savoy will assess grant applications

The German government says it has allocated €1.9m this year to provenance research for artefacts that entered museum collections during the colonial era, with the funds to be administered by the German Lost Art Foundation.

(…) Grütters says that colonial history has for many decades been a “blind spot” in Germany. “Provenance research of items with a colonial context is an important contribution to a closer examination,” she said in the statement.”

Debatte um koloniale Raubkunst „Es geht nicht darum, die französischen Museen zu leeren“

Title: Debatte um koloniale Raubkunst „Es geht nicht darum, die französischen Museen zu leeren“
Author: Christiane Habermalz
Media Outlet: Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Publish Date: January 14, 2019

(…) Ein Vorstoß, der in Frankreich und Deutschlands Museumslandschaft heftige Diskussionen ausgelöst hat. Doch in Deutschland sei die Debatte eindeutig schon weiter als in Frankreich, erklärt Savoy:

“(…) Man merkt in Deutschland, dass über dieses Thema seit einem Jahr intensiv debattiert wird, und dass vorher über Provenienzfragen zum NS-Kunstraub sehr intensiv diskutiert wurde, so dass es hier in Deutschland ein Vokabular, eine Gesprächskultur zu dem Thema gibt, und die gibt es in Frankreich noch nicht.“

(…) Sarr: „Ok, es ist auch unsere Geschichte. Aber wir können jetzt eine neue Geschichte schreiben. Indem wir anerkennen, dass afrikanische Gesellschaften diese Objekte jetzt brauchen – für ihre eigene Bildung, für ihre eigene Jugend, für ihre eigene Geschichtsschreibung. Aber so lange sie hier sind, fehlen sie dort.“

Raus aus der Schwerfälligkeit

Title: Raus aus der Schwerfälligkeit
Author: Sonja Zekri
Media Outlet: Süddeutsche Zeitung
Publish Date: January 13, 2019

“Eine neue Agentur will den deutschen Museen helfen, im Ausland endlich besser vertreten zu sein. Sie soll gerade die Kooperation mit Afrika fördern.

(…) Die geplante Agentur will unter anderem die Entwicklung einer "gemeinsamen Marke" der deutschen Museen vorantreiben, große internationale Ausstellungskooperationen befördern, andere Länder, also erst einmal: Afrika, beim Bau oder der Verbesserung von Museen unterstützen, Museumsexperten ausbilden, den Austausch von Kuratoren und Objekten beflügeln und - aber das mehr zwischen den Zeilen - die Restitution beschleunigen.

Acht Millionen Euro hat der Bundestag dafür für das Jahr 2019 bewilligt, je fünf Millionen für die nächsten drei Jahre.”

Scholars call for Berlin centre on colonial-era heritage

Title: Scholars call for Berlin centre on colonial-era heritage
Author: Catherine Hickley
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: December 14, 2018

“More than 80 scholars in the fields of art history, ethnology and history called on the German government to found a central institute in Berlin to coordinate research, museum work and policy in addressing colonial history and handling colonial-era heritage in public collections.”

(…) “But this debate should not be limited to demands for restitution or reparations,” the scholars wrote. “We should seize the opportunity the discussion over these objects offers to rescue from oblivion a centuries-old common history, one that is in many ways brutal and violent, and to take responsibility for this entangled history in the present and future…”

Kenya is starting to track its valuable stolen artifacts worldwide—with German help

Title: Kenya is starting to track its valuable stolen artifacts worldwide—with German help
Author: Abdi Latif Dahir
Media Outlet: Quartz Africa
Publish Date: December 12, 2018

“The world’s leading museums have also defended their right to keep ancient statues, giving the excuse that their institutions served the interests of all nations. Jim Chuchu of the Nest calls this “weaponized bureaucracy” or “the circle of nonsense” like how Germany refuses to return the 3,400-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti calling it “the ambassador of Egypt in Berlin.” “It’s a hostage situation,” he said.”