Hartwig Fischer

British Museum chief: taking the Parthenon marbles was 'creative'

Title: British Museum chief: taking the Parthenon marbles was 'creative'
Author: Mark Brown
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: January 28, 2019

“(…) There are many who will not see the early 19th-century removal from Greece of the marbles by agents of the 7th Earl of Elgin as “creative”. Lord Byron likened it to vandalism, lamenting in verse in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: “Dull is the eye that will not weep to see / Thy walls defac’d, thy mouldering shrines remov’d / By British hands.”

George Vardas, the secretary of the International Association for Reunification of Parthenon Sculptures, tweeted: “Seriously. What was so creative in the destruction of the temple and looting and pillage of a nation’s keys to its ancient history?”

He called it “astonishing historical revisionism and arrogance”, and added: “The imperial condescension of the British Museum knows no bounds.”

(…) A spokesperson for the British Museum said: “Hartwig Fischer was stating the longstanding position of the British Museum. We believe there is a great public benefit in being able to see these wonderful objects in the context of a world collection. The museum lends extensively across the world, and some loans are long-term but not indefinite’.”

Return of African Artifacts Sets a Tricky Precedent for Europe’s Museums

Title: Return of African Artifacts Sets a Tricky Precedent for Europe’s Museums
Author: Farah Nayeri
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: November 27, 2018

'“(…) In Europe, the restitution announcement drew tepid reactions from museum directors, as it sets a tricky precedent. Leaders of cultural institutions were quick to emphasize that Mr. Macron was speaking for France and France alone, but acknowledged that his actions and pronouncements on African heritage had energized and accelerated discussions on the subject elsewhere.

In Africa, the announcement was met with a mix of enthusiasm and caution.

(…) The ball is now in the court of France’s culture minister and foreign minister, who have been asked to bring together African and European museum managers and cultural professionals to ensure that works of art circulate not only among the major museums of the world (…)

Sindika Dokolo, a businessman from the Democratic Republic of Congo who runs an art foundation in Angola and who has bought back looted African art, said the French president’s restitution offer had “no precedent.” (…) At the same time, Mr. Dokolo urged African leaders to respond quickly, before a change of government or mood in France — to “put their foot in the door before it closes.”