Archives (English)

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.”

British Museum Workers Issue Statement in Support of Trustee Who Resigned

Title: British Museum Workers Issue Statement in Support of Trustee Who Resigned
Author: Hakim Bishara
Media Outlet: Hyperallergic
Publish Date: July 22, 2019

“Ahdaf’s actions highlight, once again, the troubling nature of the relationship between BP and the arts,” the PCS union statement said. “Through its sponsorship of our most prestigious cultural institutions, BP is allowed to propagate the myth that, without its existence, we would not have access to the collections of our publicly funded museums and galleries,” the workers added, reiterating their position that “access to culture is a human right, not a privilege bestowed by large corporations.”

On Resigning from the British Museum’s Board of Trustees

Title: On Resigning from the British Museum’s Board of Trustees
Author: Ahdaf Soueif
Media Outlet: London Review of Books
Publish Date: July 15, 2019

The British Museum, born and bred in empire and colonial practice, is coming under scrutiny. And yet it hardly speaks. (…) Any story the museum chooses to tell must finally be judged in context: that is, in relation to how it behaves – where it gets its money, how it treats its workers, and who it considers partners.

'Shout queer!' The museums bringing LGBT artefacts out of the closet

Title: 'Shout queer!' The museums bringing LGBT artefacts out of the closet
Author: David Shariatmadari
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: July 8, 2019

A darkly jumbled 19th-century anthropological museum, the Pitt Rivers is an unlikely setting for cutting-edge identity politics. But its openness to queer perspectives is part of a wider ethos of interrogation, borne out by the fact that even members of staff describe the collection, gathered magpie-like from cultures around the world, as “incredibly problematic”. Curators are preoccupied by questions such as: How did this stuff get here? Who is it for? And what stories are being told about it? “I think this is a moment of huge change in museums and particularly in collections like [ours],” says head of education Andy McLellan. “When people came into the museum 20 years ago, they just went, ‘Isn’t the Pitt Rivers museum a quaint place! And it’s got these lovely handwritten labels and, oh, they’re a little bit iffy but it’s all about the atmosphere.’ And people are coming into the museum today and they’re saying, ‘You need to change this. You need to face up to these issues. We want to find out about them – we don’t want you hiding them.’”

France retreats from report recommending automatic restitutions of looted African artefacts

Title: France retreats from report recommending automatic restitutions of looted African artefacts
Author: Vincent Noce
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: July 5, 2019

“The controversial French report recommending a systematic and unconditional return of African cultural heritage was all-but buried yesterday at a conference in Paris. (…) In his opening speech at the symposium on Thursday, the French culture minister Franck Riester only pledged that "France will examine all requests presented by African nations" but asked them not to "focus on the sole issue of restitution."

Protestors gather outside Christie's as ancient head of Tutankhamen sells for £4.7m

Title: Protestors gather outside Christie's as ancient head of Tutankhamen sells for £4.7m
Author: Anna Brady with additional reporting by Kabir Jhala
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: July 4, 2019

(…) Around 15 protestors from a “community-based organisation” called Egyptian House gathered outside Christie’s this evening as the sale took place, chanting: “Egyptian history is not for sale. Stop trading illegal antiquities. Unesco please save our heritage.” One volunteer named Mustafa tells The Art Newspaper: “The primary reason we are protesting is because this is a private sale. I don’t mind seeing artefacts from Egypt in other museums. I don’t even mind most Egyptian artefacts that are in British museums as long as they are able to be viewed by everyone."

(…) Geerling adds: “It should be remembered that the Egyptian government licensed the sale of antiquities through dealers and benefited from the income for more than 150 years. More than 100 licensed dealers were active in Egypt, including a saleroom in the Cairo museum, and they shipped out antiquities under licence by the crate-load. This trade was legal under Egyptian law right up until 1983.”

Should museums return their colonial artefacts?

Title: Should museums return their colonial artefacts?
Author: Tristram Hunt
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: June 29, 2019

“Perhaps the real challenge is how we create more, rather than fewer, universal museums – not in Europe and the west, but across Africa, India and the global south. Our aim should be to detach the universal, encyclopaedic museum from its colonial preconditions and reimagine it as a new medium for multicultural understanding.”

Kenya creates a database to show just where its stolen cultural artefacts are

Title: Kenya creates a database to show just where its stolen cultural artefacts are
Author: Gurmeet Singh
Media Outlet: Fairplanet.org
Publish Date: June 28, 2019

“(…) Databases such as this may actually be more effective in the long-run than government lobbying. If the wider public is able to access a database which shows which objects were wrongfully acquired and where they currently reside, it might do more to raise awareness of the issue than elite-level political discussion.”

Kenya is creating a database of plundered cultural artefacts and their current locations

Title: Kenya is creating a database of plundered cultural artefacts and their current locations
Author: Kylie Kiunguyu
Media Outlet: This Is Africa
Publish Date: June 24, 2019

“While other African countries have been petitioning for decades and are actively moving towards the repatriation of cultural artefacts that were plundered during the colonial era, Kenya has only recently launched an investigation into which objects were removed from the East African nation, where in the West they are housed and who holds the agency to demand their repatriation.”