Showing results 1 - 12 of 58 for the tag: Australia.

February 16, 2015

Aboriginal leaders want British Museum to return more artefacts

Posted at 10:17 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

A few years ago, the law in the UK was changed to allow certain artefacts to be returned to their country of origin.

The 2004 Human Tissue Act had its origins in controlling the unauthorised storage of body parts of deceased patients by hospitals, but section 47 of the act covered a very different, yet tenuously related subject – the repatriation of human remains.

Following a successful campaign by Australian Aboriginal groups, a decision had been made by the British Government to make changes to the law, to allow artefacts that involved human remains (i.e. they were human remains, or part of them was composed from human remains) to be returned to their countries of origin. This change in the law was a major step forward, as for the first time it over-rode the 1963 British Museum Act, opening a new route by which items could be de-accessioned from the institution.

After the need for changes to the law were identified by a working group led by Professor Norman Palmer (who has recently been associated with the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles), the Museums that held artefacts that might be affected by any change in the law, all wanted to limit any potential losses to their collections. As a result of this, various limitations were invoked within the act. Firstly, there was a 1000 year limit – artefacts older than this were not covered – a move that safeguarded any Egyptian mummies held by Britain’s major museums. The second limitation was a much more major distinction that of bones versus stones. It was argued that bones (i.e. human remains) were one category of artefact, whereas stones (i.e. pretty much everything else that was inanimate) constituted an entirely different category. While there are reasons that human remains should perhaps be seen in a different light, the move was arguably more about safeguarding large tranches of the museum’s collections, than it was about any real ethical distinction.

In the years since the Human Tissue Act came into force, there have been many instances of human remains being returned, from museums all over Britain. The returns have not just been to Australian Aboriginal groups, but also to many other indigenous peoples around the world.

During this time though, the stones versus bones argument never entirely disappeared. Aboriginal groups were pleased with the return of human remains, but to them, many other items in Britain’s museums held equally important cultural significance. The British Museum is now loaning some of the Aboriginal items in its collection to the National Museum of Australia, leading to new claims that some of these items should be returned. As the Aboriginal groups point out, these items tell a story about them and their culture, not a story about England.

Minor successes in this field have already been achieved, such as the Kwakwaka’wakw mask returned on a renewable loan basis, but these have been few and far between. To achieve what the Aboriginal Groups want would require another change in the law. This should not be considered as an insurmountable challenge – a few years after the 2004 Human Tissue Act, MP Andrew Dismore introduced the Holocaust (Stolen Art) Restitution Act, which punched a new hole in the anti-restitution clauses of the British Museum Act – this time allowing the return of items looted during the Nazi Era.

With each new special case, the legitimacy of more artefacts within the British Museum’s collection comes into question, leading to further pressure for changes in the law to give the potential for long running restitution cases such as that of the Parthenon Marbles to be resolved.

Aboriginal bark painting of a barramundi dating from 1861

Aboriginal bark painting of a barramundi dating from 1861

From:
Guardian

Indigenous leaders fight for return of relics featuring in major new exhibition
Paul Daley
Saturday 14 February 2015 00.03 GMT

When Gary Murray contemplates the thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects held in the vaults of the British Museum in London, he strikes a simple analogy.

“All of these things that belong to our people in Australia – they don’t tell a story about the Queen of England, do they?” he asks.
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December 3, 2014

France aims to return Aboriginal remains to Australia

Posted at 9:17 am in Similar cases

France has agreed to work with Australia, to help return Aboriginal remains held in French public collections.

From:
ABC News

France agrees to work with Australia to bring home Aboriginal remains
Posted 19 Nov 2014, 1:11pm

Australia and France have agreed to work together to help return the remains of Aboriginal people held in French public collections.

On the first official visit by a French head of state to Australia, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and French president Francois Hollande said their nations would open a consultation on how to return the human remains.
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November 11, 2014

Q&A with David Hill followed Parthenon Marbles film screening

Posted at 1:48 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

Following the screening of Promakhos at Australia’s Greek film festival, IARPS chair David Hill gave a question & answer session about the issues surrounding the sculptures. He is of course ideally placed to do this, having recently returned from accompanying the team of lawyers that met with various senior officials in Greece.

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

From:
Greek Reporter

Parthenon Marbles Film Premiers at Greek Film Festival
by Ioanna Zikakou – Nov 3, 2014

The Delphi Bank 21st Greek Film Festival came to a close on Sunday November 2 with a subject that is close to the heart of every Greek and Philhellene. John and Coerte Voorhees’ Promakhos premiered to two sold-out Sydney audiences at Palace Norton Street Leichhardt, a love story about two Greek Attorneys who sue the British Museum for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

In the frontline for the campaign to return Marbles is archeologist David Hill, Chairman of the Australians for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures and since 2005 the President of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
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October 24, 2014

RIP Gough Whitlam – Parthenon Marbles reunification supporter

Posted at 6:47 am in Elgin Marbles

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was a long time supporter of the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures. I was fortunate enough to see him speak on the issue in 2001 at a conference organised by the Institute of Art and Law. I was later to discover that this was the last overseas trip he made.

He was 85 years old at the time, but if you met him, you would never have believed it. He talked eloquently at great length about the history of the sculptures & how they had come to be where they are today. The story was so convincingly told, that his conclusions that they must be returned were almost unnecessary – if you understood the story, you would have made up your own mind the same ways ass he did that there was only one rightful place that could be called the home of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Gough Whitlam died on 21st October, aged 98.

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

From:
The Australian

Gough Whitlam praised from both sides of politics
October 21, 2014 2:30PM

POLITICIANS from across the divide have heaped praise on Gough Whitlam, describing the former prime minister as a “visionary” leader who spurred both progressives and conservatives into public life.

Mr Whitlam, who died this morning aged 98, led Australia for three turbulent years from 1972, launching sweeping reforms of the nation’s economic and cultural affairs, until his dismissal by the governor-general John Kerr amid a constitutional crisis in 1975.
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April 30, 2014

Australia’s NGA relinquishes Dancing Shiva ownership claims

Posted at 1:05 pm in Similar cases

The Australian National Gallery in Canberra has now accepted claims from India, that one of the items in their collection is a looted temple idol from the province of Tamil Nadu.

A legal notice was submitted by India on March 26th & the gallery chose not to contest it, meaning that it is automatically handed over by the Gallery to the Australian government. Hopefully this will be the start of a hasty return of it to India.

This is a marked change since last year, where the gallery publicly refuted all claims that the Dancing Shiva idol might be looted.

The idol is central to investigations into rogue dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is awaiting trial in India & subject to investigations within the USA.

Dancing Shiva idol at the National Gallery of Australia

Dancing Shiva idol at the National Gallery of Australia

From:
The Hindu

Canberra gallery gives up claim on stolen idol
NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Updated: April 30, 2014 01:20 IST

The National Gallery of Australia has surrendered to the Indian claim that a Chola-era Nataraja that it acquired for (A) $5.6 million had indeed been stolen from a village temple in Tamil Nadu, paving the way for an early return of the idol to India.

The NGA, Australia’s foremost art institution located in the national capital of Canberra, had 30 days to claim its ownership of the imposing bronze Nataraja after receiving a notice from the Australian Attorney General’s Department under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. That deadline expired on April 26.
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November 17, 2013

Colloquy in Sydney on the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:52 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Events

I meant to post about this ages ago – but the arrival of our first child has rather disrupted my daily routine.

Anyway – in Sydney at the moment (their final day is about to start around now), is a round table event to discuss the Parthenon Marbles issue, organised by three different pro-restitution organisations from the USA, Australia & UK.

Further details of the programme for the event can be found here.

From:
Archaeologia

International Colloquy about the Parthenon marbles opens on Friday
Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Only few days are left before the opening of the International Colloquy: “Parthenon. An Icon of Global Citizenship”. The event will be opened on Friday the 15th of November 2013 by the Premier of NSW, The Hon Barry O’Farrell MP. The opening function will take place inside the Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney.

“Colloquy” is the latin word for “speaking together” and the organisers of this event are trying to extend this conversation out of the limiting boundaries of a lecture hall. Using popular Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter they will try to include a larger number of participants on the four key workshop topics: Education, Litigation, Activism and Economy. Participants will be able to follow the online conversation and discuss/comment in real time.
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June 18, 2013

The Lego Acropolis at Sydney’s Nicholson Museum

Posted at 2:25 pm in Acropolis, Events

Sydney’s Nicholson Museum will be exhibiting a Lego reconstruction of the Athenian Acropolis on 6th – 7th July.

From:
Timeout Sydney

Lego Acropolis
06-07 Jul
Nicholson Museum’s next monumental (Lego) show

Having conquered the Lego Colosseum, the Nicholson Museum have engaged master builder Ryan McNaught (Australia’s only registered Lego builder) to recreate the 5th Century BC Acropolis of Athens, alongside the later Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a large stone amphitheatre built in 161AD. McNaught’s creations will be the centrepiece of this exhibition, which also features ancient Greek archaeological artefacts from the Nicholson Museum’s collection, including sculpture, pottery, and photographs of the Acropolis from the 1890s. There’s also (of course) a designated Lego construction site, for budding builders.
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November 19, 2012

Dispute over the Palestinian Shellal Mosaic in Canberra’s war memorial

Posted at 9:24 am in Similar cases

Journalists around the world, seem to love drawing comparisons in cultural property cases – usually stating that the case in question is that country’s Elgin Marbles. This story below is not the first time I’ve read an article about Australia’s Elgin Marbles. Whilst the article makes interesting reading & the case is definitely worthy of consideration, I think we really should avoid making these comparisons so regularly, while at the same time archaeologists are arguing that each case is unique & should be judged on its own merits. The fact that one artefacts is disputed does not automatically make it a direct (or even close) equivalent to another case.

The other interesting point to note is that this case involves Australia – a country that has lead the way in securing the return of Aboriginal remains from around the world, but at the same time has many unresolved issues of its own to sort out too.

These cases often seem very different to the countries on the other side of them.

From:
The Global Mail

War And Pieces
By Paul DaleyNovember 9, 2012

A beautiful mosaic pilfered from the Palestinian front during World War I now hangs in Canberra’s Australian War Memorial, shoved awkwardly behind a newly built wall, testament to a growing national embarrassment. The mystery of Australia’s Elgin Marbles.

OVER THE YEARS I’ve spent many hours sitting in front of the Shellal Mosaic at the Australian War Memorial, pondering its creators and admiring its exquisite artistry. It is stuck to a wall and softly lit behind a vast pane of glass in what was once a prominent position in the Hall of Valour, which honours all Australian Victoria Cross winners.
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October 16, 2012

The legal arguments for the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:36 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

If you talk to a group of lawyers who believe the return of the Elgin Marbles could be brought about by legal action (as I have done), and each one that you talk to will have a different idea of exactly how it can be achieved – in terms of which court, which jurisdiction, and which points form the basis of the case. One fact remains though – Italy argued for a long time with many of the big US museums for the return of looted artefacts – but only started to see any results once they had initiated legal proceedings against them. Whether or not legal action is aimed at winning the case in court, it can be a powerful tool for bringing people to the negotiating table with a more serious mindset – taking the case seriously rather than ignoring it in the hope that it will go away.

This new book by Greek Australian lawyer Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley gives her perspective on the legal issues involved.

From:
Greek Reporter

Feeley’s Legal Argument For the Return of the Greek Marbles
By Stella Tsolakidou on October 13, 2012 in News

Australian lawyer Kathryn-Magnolia Feeley offers her own approach to the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles from London to Athens. Her ideas will be officially launched Oct. 14 during her book presentation in Canberra.

The author of “How The Greeks Can Get Their Marbles Back- the legal argument for the return of the Parthenon Marbles ” is an expert on human rights law and has worked as an archaeologist in Greece before taking up her lawyer profession.
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April 24, 2012

Greek Australians want the British Museum to return the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 5:27 pm in Elgin Marbles

The International Organising Committee Australia for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, has launched their new website. The IOCARPM is one of two committees in Australia, whose sole aim is to campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum to the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

From:
ABC (Australia)

Push to return Parthenon Marbles to Greece
Updated March 15, 2012 09:10:50

There has been a renewed call from a committee of Greek Australians for the British government to return the Elgin or Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

The marbles are Greek sculptures that were part of the Parthenon, but have been held in London’s British Museum for nearly 200 years.
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April 17, 2012

Australian Elgin Marbles campaign gets new website

Posted at 1:12 pm in Elgin Marbles

The International Organising Committee (Australia) for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, one of two Australian committees promoting the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece, has launched their new website.

From:
St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

Marbles project gets a website
BY MARIANNA PAPADAKIS
26 Feb, 2012 01:30 PM

THE International Organising Committee (Australia) for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles founded by Emanuel Comino of Kogarah is launching a website and campaign to encourage the repatriation of the historic marbles to Greece.

The committee celebrates its 31st anniversary this year with lectures and other educational activities.
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April 16, 2012

Greeks from Australia to ask British Museum to return Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:37 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

One of the Australian committees for the return of the Parthenon Marbles hopes to exert pressure on the British Government to return the Parthenon Marbles.

From:
Greek Reporter

Greek Australians Will Visit London to Ask For Restitution of Parthenon Marbles
By Marianna Tsatsou on April 13, 2012 in Community, events, News

British actor Stephen Fry called on the British government for the return of the Parthenon marbles to Greece. Now the Greek Diaspora in Australia has also decided to exert pressure on English officials for the same reason.

The Greek campaigners have already planned a trip to London this year. Leaders of the campaign are going to be the Chairman of the International Organizing Committee Australia for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles Emanuel Comino, as well as renowned South African human rights lawyer George Bizos.
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