Showing results 37 - 48 of 69 for the tag: Africa.

December 4, 2009

Nefertiti in splendid isolation?

Posted at 1:52 pm in Similar cases

Kwame Opoku looks at how the bust of Nefertiti, on display in Berlin’s Neues Museum, is in many ways isolated from its original context – showing that context is not just important for understanding large in-situ pieces such as the Parthenon Sculptures.

From:
Modern Ghana

NEFERTITI, IDIA, TIYE AND OTHERS REVISITED: NEFERTITI IN SPLENDID ISOLATION?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Mon, 16 Nov 2009

“The history of the bust of Nefertiti shows very clearly how hollow it can sound when Germans and other Europeans refer to legal principles in relation to the “Third World.”
Gert von Paczensky and Herbert Ganslymayr (1)

The intensive and extensive publicity surrounding the re-opening of the Neues Museum in Berlin and the renewed demands by Zahi Hawass made it inevitable that all those interested in restitution of looted/stolen cultural objects would pay attention to the recent celebration of the renovated museum on the Museums Island in Berlin.(2)
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Egypt requests return of looted artefacts from Europe & USA

Posted at 1:33 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Once again, Egypt is repeating requests that they have made previously for the return of looted artefacts held in museums abroad.

From:
Afrik.com

Egypt demands return of stolen artifacts from Europe and U.S.
The artifacts are of great historicity and culture
Thursday 12 November 2009 / by Konye Obaji Ori

Egypt is asking European countries in possession of Egyptian artifacts, historical and cultural monuments to return the items to the country for the opening of Egypt’s Grand Museum at Giza, due by 2013. So far, their request has been overlooked.

“I’m not asking for all the artifacts of the British Museum to come to Egypt. I’m only asking for the unique cultural objects,” he added, referring to items of great archaeological value, such as the Rosetta Stone,” says Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities.
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August 21, 2009

The reasons given for non return of cultural property

Posted at 1:00 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This is the second part of Kwame Opoku’s article on the reasons given by museums against restitution as a way of avoiding confronting the real issues.

From:
Modern Ghana

WOULD WESTERN MUSEUMS RETURN LOOTED OBJECTS IF NIGERIA AND OTHER AFRICAN STATES WERE RULED BY ANGELS? RESTITUTION AND CORRUPTION*
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | 12 hours ago

[…]

IV. What is to be done?
In view of the very clear position of the major Western museums not to return any of the looted/stolen African artefacts, what should be done? Below are few proposals in this regard.

1. Urgent examination of existing cooperation agreements and arrangements between African museums and Western museums.
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Would Westerm Museums return artefacts if they could?

Posted at 12:57 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Many of the museums of the West, when faced with restitution claims, have insisted that they would consider returning the artefacts – but they are unable to do so. Common reasons given include the security of the artefacts if they were returned, the lack of a suitable place to house them, or statutes that forbid deaccessioning. Are these institutions really speaking the truth though, ore merely trying to throw up more barriers to prevent any sort of serious discussion of the real issues involved.

Due to the length of this piece I am reproducing it here in two parts.

From:
Modern Ghana

WOULD WESTERN MUSEUMS RETURN LOOTED OBJECTS IF NIGERIA AND OTHER AFRICAN STATES WERE RULED BY ANGELS? RESTITUTION AND CORRUPTION*
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | 12 hours ago

Corruption, like tango, requires two partners.

A seminal study by Peju Layiwola, dealt with the question of the cultural memory of a people whose development has been brutally interrupted and their cultural objects seized by a foreign invader. (1) In the specific case of Benin, the British seized more than 3000 artefacts during their nefarious invasion in 1879. (2) This date and the invasion have remained memorable for the people of Benin, Nigeria and the continent of Africa.

Peju Layiwola whose mother, Princess Elisabeth Olowu, is a well-known artist, was born in the Palace of the Oba in Benin City during the reign of Oba Akenzua II, her maternal grandfather. Peju spent her childhood in Benin City, went to school there and did her first degree at the University of Benin. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Ibadan dealt with contemporary Benin brass casting. Peju is therefore from family affiliation, from childhood experience and education linked to Benin and inevitably, since she was drawn to art in her infancy, to the arts of Benin and the tragic loss of the Benin bronzes through the British invasion. The important question then is not why Peju is concerned by the continued loss of the Benin Bronzes but rather why some people are less concerned or even indifferent to attempts to recover looted or stolen artefacts.
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August 17, 2009

Call for Papers – Who owns Africa’s cultural patrimony

Posted at 1:03 pm in British Museum, Events, Similar cases

Submissions are invited for a special edition of Critical Interventions on Africa’s cultural heritage in the museums of the West.

From:
Kwame Opoku (by email)

Critical Interventions: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture – Fall 2010
By Kwame Opoku
WHO OWNS AFRICA’S CULTURAL PATRIMONY?

Critical Interventions invites submissions for a special issue on the question of Africa’s cultural patrimony in Western museums, especially in the context of recent international debates about repatriation of historical artworks relocated from one culture to another through conquest, colonization or looting. In the first decade of the 21st Century, demands by various countries for repatriations of significant artworks and cultural objects have shaken up established ideas about the ownership and location of historical cultural objects. While many Western museums have been willing to reach agreements about repatriating or compensating for culturally important artworks in their collections claimed by other Western countries, there has been no acknowledgement of the right of Africans to ownership of African artworks looted from Africa during colonialism, which are now held in the so-called “Universal Museums” of the West. Read the rest of this entry »

Museums & governments must enter into dialogues over looted artefacts

Posted at 12:56 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Director of the National Museum of African Art, part of the Smithsonian Institution talks about partnerships with museums abroad. The issue of repatriation is also discussed, with the suggestion that there should be a serious dialogue going on to resolve some of these cases. All too often unfortunately, institutions such as the British Museum make pre-requisite demands that must be satisfied before talks can take place – as an effective way of neutering any possible discussions.

From:
The Guardian (Nigeria)

Saturday, August 15, 2009
Africa Must Partner To Correct Marginalisation, says Johnetta Cole

SINCE the beginning of the year the National Museum, Lagos has been in the centre of intense efforts to reposition it to play its pivotal role of showcasing Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage to the world. Such recent efforts saw the director of the National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, US, Dr. Johnetta Betsch Cole visiting Nigeria in a partnership being forged by the Ford Foundation. In this interview with ANOTE AJELUOROU, she talks about the timeliness of the partnership between the two institutions and the Owo art exhibition being planned to commemorate Nigeria’s 50th Independence anniversary in the US and Nigeria.
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July 6, 2009

Voluntary restitution of artefacts

Posted at 10:14 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Whilst some museums refuse to return (or even allow access to) artefacts despite extensive pressure put on them to do so, one institution has returned an artefact without even being asked. The reason for this action was that the museum felt that it was the right thing to do.

From:
Modern Ghana

5th July 2009
NOT ALL HAVE ABANDONED MORALITY IN THE RESTITUTION OF CULTURAL ARTEFACTS BY WESTERN MUSEUMS
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.

Sometimes, certain acts occur which make us believe that there is still chance for humankind and that not all persons have allowed themselves to be swept by greed and thirst for power over others.

The report about the return by Seattle Art Museum (SAM) to Australian Aborigines of a ceremonial object, without being requested by the owners, may appear to many as a small matter in itself. However, when one takes into account the discussions on restitution of cultural objects to their rightful owners, this act acquires added significance.*
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June 22, 2009

Why are major African art exhibitions only shown in the Western world?

Posted at 1:18 pm in Similar cases

Museums often claim that they are popularising culture – that they are displaying artefacts from the past to people who would never otherwise have seen them. In many cases though, this creates a new split – that the original creator / owners are no longer to see their own culture. Surely understanding ones own culture should be given as much (if not more) importance as understanding that of others? Is it possible to understand other cultures without understanding your own first?

From:
Afrikanet

Datum: 23.06.09 09:32
Von: Dr. Kwame Opoku
Are major africa Art exhibitions only for the western world? Ife art exhibition begins in Spain but will not be shown in Nigeria or any other african country

A major exhibition on Ife art, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria, opened on June 16, 2009 at the Fundación Marcelino Botin, Santander, Spain and will move from there to the Museum for Africa Art, New York, United States and later to the British Museum, London, United Kingdom. The exhibition however will not be shown in Nigeria or in any other African country. (1)

The exhibition consists of some 120 excellent bronze, terra-cotta and stone sculptures from 12th – 15th century from Ife (or more correctly, Ilé-Ife), the spiritual capital of the Yoruba in South-western Nigeria and the place where, according to Yoruba mythology, creation took place; the gods, Oduduwa and Obatala descended from heaven to create the earth as directed by the Supreme Deity, Oludumare. The objects in the exhibition have been loaned by the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) which is working in collaboration with the Fundación Marcelino Botin, the Museum for African Art and the British Museum.
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Spotlight on stolen Benin artefacts

Posted at 1:13 pm in Similar cases

Artefacts lost from Benin in 1897 continue to be a source of controversy today. They were removed from the country during a massacre to suppress a local uprising, yet now they sit in museums around the world who refuse to fuly acknowledgej the original ownership of these pieces.

From:
The Guardian, Nigeria

Friday, June 19, 2009
Peju Layiwola’s 1897.com: Refreshing spotlight on stolen Benin artifacts
By Mufu Onifade

THE university don/artist, Dr. (Mrs.) Peju Layiwola is angry. The pent up anger has built up for years. But she is now ready to pour out the venom. And the cause she is championing appears genuine. Every artistically enlightened Nigerian – nay African – should be agitated by the continued western pillage of artifacts from Africa. Peju is angry and the only medium of expression at her disposal is art. This, at least, is an undercurrent that runs through some of her recent works already earmarked for a solo effort entitled 1897.com. The show focuses on European imperialism in Africa, with particular reference to Benin at the turn of the 19th century. Apart from the books of history, Ola Rotimi captures the pitiable stories of helpless Benin in the hands of ruthless British soldiers in a tragic epic, Ovonramwen Nogbaisi. Although, many Benin indigenes did not agree with Rotimi’s version of the story, which flies on the wings of dramaturgy rather than historical accuracy, Ahmed Yerima was commissioned in 1997 to re-write a more appealing version, which he titled Oba Ovonramwen. At least, the two plays agree on the spate of tragedy and injustice unleashed on Benin.
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April 6, 2009

How long must we wait for the return of Benin artefacts?

Posted at 12:48 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

In response to this article, Kwame Opoku writes again on the plight of the Benin bronzes, strewn across the museums of Europe & the USA. A breakdown of the numbers suggests that the largest proportion of these artefacts are located in the British Museum.

From:
Modern Ghana

HOW LONG MUST NIGERIA WAIT FOR THE RETURN OF SOME OF THE LOOTED BENIN ARTEFACTS?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article
5th April 2009

Feature Article : “The Author’s/Authors’ views do not necessarily reflect those of ModernGhana.

In an interview reproduced below from the PUNCH, the Director-General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Dr. Joe. Eboreima gives his views of the question of the restitution of stolen/looted Nigerian artefacts, especially, the Benin Bronzes which the British looted in their infamous invasion of Benin in 1897. The National Commission is the supreme authority on matters relating to monuments and museums in Nigeria and therefore an important body on the question of the restitution of Nigerian artefacts, thousands of which are lying, unused and neglected in European and American museums which have no space for their excessive number of objects..

The exhibition mentioned in the interview is Benin Kings and Rituals – Court Arts from Nigeria ,organized in May 2007 by the Museum for Ethnology, Vienna, the Museum for Ethnology, Berlin, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, with the cooperation of the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the Royal Family of Benin.
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April 5, 2009

Looted Benin artefacts could be worth over £1.3 billion

Posted at 1:02 pm in Similar cases

Mnay excuses are made by museums for continued retention of disputed artefacts. These aretefacts are often important to the original owners from a cultural perspective, but in many cases also have a significant monetary value attached to them that can not be ignored.

From:
The Punch (Nigeria)

Looted Benin artefacts, others may be worth N313bn
By Akeem Lasisi
Published: Thursday, 2 Apr 2009

As prices of art works continue to appreciate in the local and international markets, agitators for the repatriation of about 6,500 Nigerian antiquities illegally being held in various museums and other collections in European countries and beyond have put the monetary value at N313bn.

Mostly involved are Benin bronzes, ivories and other ancient works looted by British colonialists, especially during the reprisal attacks launched by the Queen‘s soldiers against natives trying to resist imperialism in 1897.
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February 13, 2009

Did the Germans cheat to get hold of the Nefertiti bust?

Posted at 7:39 pm in Similar cases

New research suggests that the archaeologists who took the bust of Nefertiti from Egypt deliberately misled officials to allow them to do so – suggesting that they felt that they would have been stopped had they told the truth at that stage. This can only add weight to Egypt’s argument for the return of the sculpture.

From:
The National (Abu Dhabi)

Germans ‘cheated’ to get Nefertiti
David Crossland, Foreign Correspondent
Last Updated: February 13. 2009 1:12AM UAE / February 12. 2009 9:12PM GMT

The bust of ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti has been one of Germany’s most treasured cultural possessions since German archaeologists discovered the exquisitely crafted 3,350-year-old artwork in the sands of Egypt almost a century ago.

Renowned for its timeless beauty, the sculpture attracts more than half a million visitors a year to the Berlin museum where it is on display, and it has long been a source of friction between Germany and Egypt, which has been demanding its return for decades.
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