Repatriation

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.”

Venice Biennale 2019 - Giovanna Esposito Yussif: Changing Structures Closest to Home

Title: Venice Biennale 2019 - Giovanna Esposito Yussif: Changing Structures Closest to Home
Author: Theresa Sigmund
Media Outlet: C&
Publish Date: May 3, 2019

"(...) in our Berlin Iteration I worked closely with artist Outi Pieski and researcher Eeva-Kristiina Harlin to bring forward the case of rematriation of the Sámi cultural belongings that are in German collections. We requested on loan three Sámi horn hats that are part of the collection of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Outi and Eeva presented a powerful lecture on four voices. It was important to take their research to Berlin because only few of these hats are in Sámi territory and the majority are in European museums, such as those in Berlin. And due to the ongoing discourse concerning the Humboldt Forum, and increasing claims for repatriation of belongings taken by various means from their societies. It was necessary to bring these questions forward while challenging the notion of repatriation, by proposing rematriation as a different form of relation with and activation of cultural belongings."


Remains of Aboriginal Australians returned to their descendants by German museums

Title: Remains of Aboriginal Australians returned to their descendants by German museums
Author: Justin Huggler
Media Outlet: The Telegraph
Publish Date: April 15, 2019

“German institutions to hand over Aboriginal Australian remains this month include Freiburg University, the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, and the Linden Museum of Stuttgart.”

‘As Native Americans, We Are in a Constant State of Mourning’

Title: ‘As Native Americans, We Are in a Constant State of Mourning’
Author: Chip Colwell
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: April 4, 2019

(…) Museums are reconsidering who is the rightful owner of the objects that fill displays and storerooms. For example, the Netherlands’ national museums have established guidelines for returning objects obtained without consent. In Germany, 16 states agreed in a joint resolution to repatriate items taken during the country’s colonial era. Scotland said it will soon deliver to Canada the stolen skulls of two Beothuk Indians. England’s Natural History Museum recently sent home 37 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains to Australia. And that’s just in the first few months of 2019.

(…) Museums should not see repatriation only for what is lost. They should also see what is gained. (…) Such gains are extended even further when the return of ancestors and artifacts becomes a form of restorative justice. Like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission following the abolishment of South Africa’s apartheid system, repatriation involves, as Desmond Tutu wrote, “the healing of breaches, the redressing of imbalances, the restoration of broken relationships.”

The path to colonial reckoning is through archives, not museums

Title: The path to colonial reckoning is through archives, not museums
Author: Patrick Gathara
Media Outlet: Al Jazeera
Publish Date: March 14, 2019

“As the French President Emmanuel Macron tours East Africa, he is certain to get a cordial welcome. If everything goes to plan, it will be all smiles and few uncomfortable questions. However, this should not be the case. Macron has called for an international conference on the return of African art and artefacts looted during colonialism. But art and artefacts are not the only things that should be returned.

The colonial archive, the thousands of official records and documents that trace the history of subjugation, oppression and looting of the continent by the European powers is largely resident in Europe.”

British museum agrees to return Ethiopian emperor's hair

Title: British museum agrees to return Ethiopian emperor's hair
Author: AP news agency
Media Outlet: Al Jazeera
Publish Date: March 4, 2019

“"Displaying human parts in websites and museums is inhumane," Ethiopia's minister for culture and tourism, Hirut Woldemariam, told The Associated Press last year.

That museum has said the hair was donated in 1959 by relatives of an artist who painted the emperor on his deathbed.

"Our decision to repatriate is very much based on the desire to inter the hair within the tomb alongside the emperor" at a monastery in northern Ethiopia, Terri Dendy, the National Army Museum's head of collections standards and care, said in a statement.”

UK museums should be honest about being stuffed with stolen goods

Title: UK museums should be honest about being stuffed with stolen goods
Author: Alice Procter
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: February 20, 2019

“(…) We need a new type of museum: one that’s not afraid to admit it doesn’t have all the answers and actually welcomes critique and dissent, that will let in a multiplicity of responses and voices without defensiveness. We need a different script on acquisition, possession and repatriation: it’s not enough to insist that finders are keepers, or to hide behind outdated acts that don’t actually prevent the disposal of objects.”

French President Wants to Return Benin’s Artifacts, But Will French Law Allow Him?

Title: French President Wants to Return Benin’s Artifacts, But Will French Law Allow Him?
Author: Zachary Small
Media Outlet: Hyperallergic
Publish Date: November 28, 2018

“(…) Although he moved spectacularly quick toward the dream of full restitution, Macron’s unprecedented move does not necessarily signify his administration’s willingness to part with the hundreds of thousands of African objects stored in the country’s various museums.”

France will have to change its laws to return its looted African art

Title: "France will have to change its laws to return its looted African art"
Author: Lynsey Chutel
Media Outlet: Quartz Africa
Publish Date: November 22, 2018

France is set to make good on president Emmanuel Macron’s promise to return Africa’s stolen art and artifacts. This week, a report will be released that outlines exactly why and how thousands of priceless objects should be returned to Africa. An early look at the report, due on Friday (Nov. 23), calls for a change in French law that would allow restitution through bilateral agreements between France and the affected African states.

Museums in France Should Return African Treasures, Report Says

Title: "Museums in France Should Return African Treasures, Report Says"
Author: Nayeri, Farah
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: November 21, 2018

PARIS — The sprawling Quai Branly Museum in Paris is stuffed with treasure. It has some 70,000 objects from sub-Saharan Africa in its collection, including magnificent statues from present-day Benin and delicate paintings that once decorated church walls in Ethiopia. But a long-awaited report coming out this week could have a dramatic impact on what visitors see there, with repercussions for other international museums.