Showing results 61 - 69 of 69 for the tag: Africa.

August 18, 2008

Avoiding the subject of provenance

Posted at 12:43 pm in Similar cases

Even otherwise excellent books published by museums, can tend to gloss over how items came to leave their homelands.
If museums aren’t ashamed of how artefacts were acquired, then why don’t they discuss it clearly.

From:
Modern Ghana

ONCE MORE BENIN: REVIEW OF BENIN: ROYAL ARTS OF A WEST AFRICAN KINGDOM BY KATHLEEN BICKFORD BERZOCK
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Fri, 15 Aug 2008

This book corresponds to what I think the average visitor to an exhibition needs: a short introduction to the subject-matter, with illustrations and sufficient information for the reader to understand the significance of the theme without being burdened by too many pages.
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August 7, 2008

Kenyan cultural property

Posted at 12:52 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More information on the request by Kenya for the return of numerous cultural artefacts from museums & institutions around the world.

From:
ArtInfo

Kenya Demands Return of Significant Artifacts
By ARTINFO
Published: August 6, 2008

NAIROBI—Kenya is asking for the return of artifacts of significant national importance that are currently owned by museums in the United States and England, the Independent reports. More than 2,000 artifacts housed in the British Museum and thousands more held by U.S. museums and in private collections are being compiled by Kenyan officials into a list of significant objects that the country wants repatriated.

In the past, attempts by Kenya to get artifacts returned were countered by arguments that the country did not have suitable facilities for them. But last month, the new National Museum, whose renovation was financed by the European Union, opened in Nairobi, and Kenyan heritage officials now insist that they can care for all types of objects.
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August 6, 2008

Kenya requests that its history is returned

Posted at 1:15 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

A commentary of Kenya’s request for the return of artefacts by Kwame Opoku.

From:
Afrikanet

Kenya demands once again the restitution of Artefacts
Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Wednesday, 06 August 2008

As we have often emphasized in our various articles, no one intends to empty the European museums of all the African objects but there must be a selection of those the European and American museums can keep and those the African owners want back home. As the Director-General of Kenya’s National Museums has stated in the report below, we want people in Europe and America to see our artefacts but the most important ones must return home to where they belong. Is this not fair enough? In these days when museum directors and others are talking about the “heritage of mankind”, should the producers of these artefacts also not have their own share of the “heritage of mankind”? Or does that heritage belong only to those who have acquired the artefacts under dubious circumstances?
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July 28, 2008

Percieved similarities of cultural artefacts

Posted at 10:56 am in Similar cases

The British Museum (& others) make much of the fact that they allow comparison of cultural artefacts from different parts of the world within close proximity to one another, allowing comparisons to be drawn. Is this really the only (or even best) method though & how much relevance does it actually have? In some situations, there are clear comparisons to be drawn, but in other cases, perceived similarities are more coincidental than they are indicators of a bigger unifying picture.

From:
Modern Ghana

IS AFRICA CLOSER TO OCEANIA THAN TO EUROPE? VISIT TO AN EXHIBITION ON AFRICAN AND OCEANIAN ARTS.
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sun, 27 Jul 2008

“We Westerners are the ones who confer the quality of art to these objects. These statues should not return to Africa.” Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller (1)

Seldom have I been to an exhibition where almost everything seemed to have been so well-planned and very carefully considered as the exhibition at the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, entitled, Afrique – Oceanie, Les chef-d’oeuvres de la collection Barbier-Mueller,19 March – 24 August 2008.
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July 24, 2008

Growing demand for return of Benin Bronzes

Posted at 10:35 am in British Museum, Similar cases

The Benin Bronzes are spread across many museums & institutions of the west – demand for their return grows though, as more people begin to understand how many of them were acquired.

From:
Afrikanet

NEWS FROM NIGERIA ON THE RECOVERY OF THE STOLEN BENIN ARTEFACTS
Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The information below indicates that the demand for the return of the Benin artefacts which the British looted in 1897 in the infamous Punitive Expedition of 1897 is growing. This increase interest is no doubt due to the discussion on the exhibition, Benin Kings and Rituals: Court Arts from Nigeria’ now at the Art Institute of Chicago.
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May 18, 2008

The universal museum – from Benin to Chicago

Posted at 8:24 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Popularised as a concept in recent years by the British Museum, is the concept of the Universal Museum in the todays world anything more than a marketing strategy for the continued retention of artefacts by the worlds most powerful museums?

From:
Modern Ghana

BENIN TO CHICAGO: IN THE UNIVERSAL MUSEUM?
By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Sat, 17 May 2008
Feature Article

“And I am left thinking that the “Enlightenment principles on which public museums in the United States were established” have perhaps contributed to the irreversible destruction of our universal, or cosmopolitan, cultural heritage”.

David Gill, Collecting Antiquities and Enlightenment Principles (1)

…The exhibition, Benin: Kings and Rituals Court Arts from Nigeria, goes to the Art Institute of Chicago (A.I.C.) from July 10 – September 21, 2008 as the final station of this travelling exhibition which, starting in Vienna, generated debates about restitution of stolen art, went to Paris and Berlin. It is to be noted that the exhibition which is the biggest ever held on Benin art will not be seen in Nigeria. It goes next to Chicago. But what kind of institution is the Art Institute of Chicago?
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April 28, 2008

Excuses for retention of artefacts

Posted at 1:37 pm in Similar cases

Many excuses are made by the museums of the west for the retention of artefacts. In this case, the argument is that making art works out of artefacts, particular those originating from “primitive” cultures will increase their chance of survival.

From:
Afrikanet

WOLF LEPENIES AND THE ETHNOLOGY MUSEUM, BERLIN.
Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Sunday, 27 April 2008
WHY DO EUROPEANS, EVEN INTELLECTUALS, HAVE DIFFICULTY IN CONTEMPLATING THE RESTITUTION OF STOLEN AFRICAN CULTURAL OBJECTS? WOLF LEPENIES AND THE ETHNOLOGY MUSEUM, BERLIN.

Universal culture can only be achieved when all cultures are able and free to make their contribution but this cannot be done when the guardians of one culture hijack the masterpieces of another culture. (Picture: Mask pwo or mwana pwo, Chokwe, Angola. Ethnology Museum, Berlin.)

In a recent article in a leading German newspaper, Abschied vom intellektuellen Kolonialismus with the title, Farewell to intellectual Colonialism; What Berlin can learn from the debate over the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris. (1) Wolf Lepenies, holder of the Peace Price of the German Book Industry and recipient of several other academic distinctions, reminded me once again of the enormous difficulties Europeans, even intellectuals, seem to experience when they deal with African problems and above all, when they consider matters in which the interests of Europeans and Africans are involved. Somehow they seem unable or unwilling to give to Africans the same consideration as they give to others.
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April 22, 2008

Kwame Opoku responds to Philippe de Montebello

Posted at 11:24 am in Similar cases

Philippe de Montebello, Director of New York’s Metropolitan Musum has never been popular with restitutionists, despite being unwillingly responsible for some of the most significant artefact restitutions in recent years. He always gives the impression that he does not really even try to understand the issues & implies that he has been forced into making decisions by situations outside his control.

From:
Modern Ghana

DOES THE DEMAND FOR THE RESTITUTION OF STOLEN AFRICAN CULTURAL OBJECTS CONSTITUTE AN OBSTACLE TO THE DISSEMINATION OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT AFRICAN ARTS? COMMENTS ON A LETTER FROM PHILIPPE DE MONTEBELLO, DIRECTOR, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK.
By Dr. Kwame Opoku
Mon, 21 Apr 2008
Feature Article

Reference is made to the letter from Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1), New York, which was published in AFRIKANET on Friday, 18 April, 2008. http://www.afrikanet.info/. In his letter, Philippe de Montebello refers to my article entitled “Is Legality still a viable concept for European and American Museum Directors?” http://www.afrikanet.info/index. The Director of the Metropolitan does not address the main point of my article, namely, that the arguments the European and American museums present in defence of their holding of stolen African cultural objects are extremely weak. It seems the director is more interested in the picture inserted in the article than in the serious comments on legality. I shall therefore only comment on the points raised in his letter.

We are sorry that the Director of the Metropolitan Museum had to go to so much trouble in order to identify the Nok terracotta. Incidentally, why must a Nok sculpture be described as “haunting, strange-looking object”? This description comes from a museum director who has artworks from the Egyptians, Guro, Lobi, Dogon, Bamana, Senufo, Baule, Lumbo, Igbo, Fan Yoruba, Chokwe, etc among his collections. I thought we had long moved away from the period when the Europeans and Americans described whatever came out of Africa in these terms. Or are we going back to those days when an unbridgeable difference was assumed to exist between African art and European art? Surely, after the influence of African art on modern art and after so many exhibitions on African art, some organized by the Metropolitan Museum, such a description sounds somewhat odd, especially coming from a Director of one of the leading museums of the West.
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November 2, 2002

British man returns amulet taken after the siege of Magdala

Posted at 1:54 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The British Museum likes people to believe that there is no purpose in returning artefacts that left their original context long ago (for arguments sake, lets say, prior to the begining of the Nazi era (1933), as we know that artefacts since then have been considered as valid for return). If public opinion (& actions) go against this point of view though, they may be forced to reconsider.

From:
Independent

02 November 2002 12:59 BDT
Return of amulet puts pressure on British Museum
By Andrew Heavens in Addis Ababa
02 November 2002

A sacred amulet is due to be returned to Ethiopia today, 135 years after a British soldier ripped it from the neck of the country’s Emperor during a battle.

An anonymous British man has agreed to hand over the artefact which was taken at the siege of Magdala in 1868. The return will step up pressure on the British Museum and other institutions which still hold hundreds of illuminated manuscripts, crowns and religious objects seized at the same time. It is also the latest in a line of controversies over the repatriation of foreign treasures from Britain, including Nigeria’s Benin Bronzes and the Elgin Marbles.
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