Showing results 25 - 36 of 90 for the tag: Kwame Opoku.

February 11, 2010

Is France’s return of looted Nigerian artefacts an isolated act?

Posted at 1:46 pm in Similar cases

The French government has returned two looted artefacts to Nigeria. The question is whether this is the start of an extended process of dialogue over disputed cultural property, or merely a one-off isolated act of restitution.

From:
Modern Ghana

FRANCE RETURNS LOOTED ARTEFACTS TO NIGERIA: BEGINNING OF A LONG PROCESS OR AN ISOLATED ACT?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sat, 30 Jan 2010

According to a report in the Nigerian Compass reproduced below, the French Government has returned to the Nigerian Government two artefacts looted during the colonial days. This is good news.

We have in various articles demonstrated the illegality, the illegitimacy and the immorality of detaining the cultural artefacts of others against their consent, whether the objects were looted, stolen or acquired under other dubious circumstances. We have urged Western museums that are full of such objects to endeavour to come to some acceptable arrangements with the owners. However, most Western museums have remained deaf to all reasonable pleas and demands for restitution.
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January 6, 2010

The location of the Rosetta Stone doesn’t need to be set in stone.

Posted at 3:02 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

A response to the Daily Telegraph’s article on the location of the Rosetta Stone.

From:
Modern Ghana

WHERE THE ROSETTA STONE BELONGS MAY NOT BE SET IN STONE BUT IS STATED IN DOCUMENTS:
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.

“The time has come when the British Museum should recognise the change in relative status between Britain and the rest of the world. We are no longer the imperial masters and increasingly need to build constructive working relationships as between equals.”
Peter Groome (1)

It is indeed really remarkable that so many Western writers seem to have great difficulty in keeping to logic and facts when it comes to writing about restitution of cultural objects which have been looted, stolen or illegitimately acquired from non-Western peoples. A recent example of this type of writing is an article by Ben Macintyre, entitled “Where the Rosetta belongs can’t be set in stone”, published in the British daily, The Times, of 10 December 2009. (2) The article may appear at first sight to contain convincing arguments but a cursory examination of the statements by the author shows that it is not well argued; it is mainly intended to support the stubborn refusal of the British Museum to return the Egyptian Rosetta Stone as the Egyptians have been demanding. We comment briefly on some of the statements in the article to examine some of the weaknesses of this line of thought.
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December 26, 2009

Hawass says its time for the antiquities to return home

Posted at 9:08 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Egypt’s Zahi Hawass follows up his lecture in London with his thoughts on why now is the time for many of his countries artefacts to return home from foreign museums.

From:
Asharq Alawsat

Time for the Antiquities to Return Home
17/12/2009
By Zahi Hawass

I recently travelled to London to give a lecture at the British Museum on my archaeological discoveries, and to host a book-signing event for my book ‘A Secret Voyage’ that has finally been published in English. This book deals with the experiences of my career [as an archaeologist] from my view on the beauty of the Pharaonic civilization, to [discussing] the Pharaonic view on love, religion, daily life, and festivals, and also includes stories about my latest discoveries in the Valley of the Kings.

This visit came a long time after my last visit to the British capital, and I told journalists and reporters from various media organizations that I had come to London to demand the return of the Rosetta Stone that is housed by the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone was part of an agreement concluded by the French with the British following the Battle of the Nile [also known as the Battle of Aboukir Bay]. The French fleet was defeated in this battle, forcing it to leave Egypt, which then fell under British influence.
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December 23, 2009

Did Ludwig Borchardt steal the Nefertiti bust from Egypt?

Posted at 1:38 pm in Similar cases

German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt discovered the Nefertiti bust in 1912. The bust was taken from Egypt to Germany, but wheter or not this removal had official permission is something that is disputed by the Egyptian authorities.

From:
Modern Ghana

Egypt pushes for return of antiquities to origin countries
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article

JASON KOUTSOUKIS HERALD CORRESPONDENT
December 7, 2009
CAIRO: Egypt will host an international conference next March for countries seeking the return of ancient indigenous treasures being kept in foreign museums.

The secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, said the conference would be a world first.
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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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November 5, 2009

Tracing the artefacts looted from the Summer Palace

Posted at 7:31 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

China is sending teams of experts to catalogue the Chinese artefacts in museums abroad. This raises the question though of why the Museums do not already have such records of their own – or if they do have them, why they are unwilling to share them.

From:
Modern Ghana

CHINESE RESEARCH ARTEFACTS LOOTED IN ANGLO-FRENCH ATTACK ON SUMMER PALACE IN 1860: DO “GREAT MUSEUMS” NOT KEEP RECORDS?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.

“Two robbers breaking into a museum, devastating, looting and burning, leaving laughing hand-in-hand with their bags full of treasures; one of the robbers is called France and the other Britain.” Victor Hugo. (1)

China has announced its intention of sending groups of researchers to various museums in the West, especially France, Britain and United States, such as the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum to draw a list of the artefacts that were looted in 1860 during the Anglo-French invasion of Beijing, (then Peking).(2) Victor Hugo had expressed the wish and the hope that one day France and Britain would return the looted objects taken from an Asian country, thousands of miles away from France and Britain, that had been attacked because of its resistance to European imperialism. (3)
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October 29, 2009

Will the British Museum ever make the bold gesture of returning the Rosetta Stone?

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

Following the Louvre’s decision to return some fragments of frescos to Egypt, one wonders whether the relatively long standing requests to the British Museum for the return of the Rosetta Stone will be properly considered at last.

From:
Modern Ghana

HAWASS REQUESTS ROSETTA STONE: WILL BRITISH MUSEUM MAKE A BOLD CONCILIATORY GESTURE?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Fri, 16 Oct 2009

In an article entitled Egypt asks British Museum for the Rosetta Stone after Louvre victory, the British Daily Telegraph reports that soon after the Louvre has agreed to return the stolen frescoes, Zahi Hawass, the dynamic Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities has asked the British Museum for a loan of the Rosetta Stone. The Telegraph also reports that: “Mr. Hawass acknowledged that seeking the return of the Rosetta Stone was a different proposition from the painted fragments in the Louvre.” The paper adds that: “A spokesman said the British Museum “enjoys good relations” with Egypt and promised to consider Mr Hawass’s request.”(1)

A reader who has not followed discussions on restitution and the efforts by Hawass to secure the return of looted Egyptian artefacts might be forgiven for thinking that emboldened by his recent success with the Louvre, Hawass is now turning attention to the British Museum and making demands. The truth however, is that the request for the return of the Rosetta Stone has been made long ago by the Egyptians. There are at least reports on this demand as far back as 2003.
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October 26, 2009

A musical campaign for the return of Benin artefacts

Posted at 8:49 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Most of the artefacts from the ancient Kingdom of Benin that ended up in museums around the world, left the country following the British army’s looting of the country in 1897.

This song (forwarded to my by Kwame Opoku) details the massacre, followed by the (so far unsuccessful) attempts to have some of these artefacts returned to their country of origin. Perhaps someone needs to produce something similar to help publicise the campaign for the return of the Parthenon Marbles & to correct some of the popular misconceptions so that people better understand the true situation.

Listen to (& watch) it here.

Lessons that can be learned from Egypt’s experience with the Louvre

Posted at 1:45 pm in Similar cases

Egypt’s ultimatum to the Louvre over disputed artefact claims achieved a rapid response. Can other parties making restitution claims against museums learn from this?

From:
Afrikanet

Datum: 10.10.09 21:32
Kategorie: Kultur-Kunst
Von: Dr. Kwame Opoku
France to return ancient Egyptian frescos – Lessons from Zahi Hawass

LOUVRE GIVES IN TO DEMAND OF ZAHI HAWAS FOR THE RETURN OF STOLEN ARTEFACTS. IS THIS THE END OF A STORY OR THE BEGINNING?

According to press reports, France has agreed to return the the five ancient Egyptian frescos that Zahi Hawass claimed had been stolen from Egypt even though the French asserted they had bought them in “good faith”.
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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 »