Showing results 37 - 48 of 325 for the tag: Looting.

February 28, 2013

The “Benin Plan of action for restitution” and what it means for the return of disputed artefacts

Posted at 8:51 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Meetings have been held in Nigeria, between representatives of the government & from various institutions abroad, that hold disputed Nigerian artefacts. The aim of this is to determine some way forward to resolving the issue. For an opinion on the viability of this, the second article I have reposted gives an alternative perspective to the official government line to the media.

From:
The Guardian (Nigeria)

Amid hope of restitution, Nigeria hosts foreign museums
Friday, 15 February 2013 00:00 By Tajudeen Sowole

AS Nigeria hosts some representatives of holders of the country’s looted cultural objects as part of efforts towards the return of the controversial artefatcs, the country’s dialogue or diplomatic approach is once again on the spot.

Scheduled to hold next week, significantly, in Benin, Edo State, where the largest looting of Africa’s cultural objects took place in 1897, the meeting would be the third of its kind between the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) and some museums in Europe.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 27, 2013

Not all types of restitution are equal – law enforcement & return of looted artefacts

Posted at 1:43 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This piece by Kwame Opoku raises the interesting point, that the often gets lost when described in press articles – that there are two very different types of restitution. One type happens regularly, is legally enforced & has no real involvement of museums & galleries. The other type happens rarely (if at all) & is determined by the museums. But, in the media, these two very different types of cases often become one & the same, implying that there is a level of co-operation between countries over disputed artefacts that is not really there. Certainly, there is one layer that exists, but the layers beneath it are applied far more erratically.

From:
Ligali

Wed 13 February 2013
Opinion: What We Understand By “Restitution”
Kwame Opoku questions whether Nigeria’s approach to restitution of cultural artefacts is really working and offers a more progressive approach and honest definition.
Submitted By: Kwame Opoku

“Short of giving details of the anticipated repossession of Nigerian artefacts from France, Usman insisted that diplomacy remained the “best and only option for now and we would change our strategy if it’s not working.”

We are all pleased that the French, just like the US Americans are returning Nigerian looted artefacts that have been intercepted by the police or customs whilst in transit or at arrival at port of destination. This is the result of normal collaboration between customs/police institutions of France/USA and those of Nigeria. They are not the result of efforts by cultural institutions seeking the return of looted items, as far as we know. These are the results of investigation of criminal activities pursued by the customs/police institutions.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 24, 2013

The Koh-i-noor diamond, the Parthenon Marbles & the Benin Bronzes – three disputed artefact cases

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

Kwame Opoku writes about British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments on the Koh-i-noor diamond & the Parthenon Marbles during his trip to India.

From:
Kwame Opoku (by email)

DAVID CAMERON RULES OUT THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES AND THE KOHINOOR DIAMOND TO THEIR COUNTIES OF ORIGIN.

On the last day of his trade visit to India, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, ruled out the return of the Kohinoor Diamond to India and added that the same applied to the Parthenon /Elgin Marbles. (1)

Cameron thought it was best that these objects be left where they are in the care of the British Museum
Read the rest of this entry »

February 22, 2013

Who owns the Banksy street art on a wall? The wall owner or the public?

Posted at 7:22 pm in Similar cases

As the case of the Banksy artwork removed from the wall in Wood Green continues, more & more people are trying to draw slightly absurd parallels to the Parthenon Marbles & calling for the British Ministry of Culture to intervene to block the auction from taking place. However in this case, I can’t really understand quite what the basis for the arguments is.

It now seems clear that the owner of the building (of which the wall on which the graffiti was on was a part) authorised & presumably organised the removal of the artwork. No doubt they stand to make a reasonable profit from it. Now, Banksy picks the walls he paints on – with no consultation with the owners, so this lucky owner is soon going to be wealthier than they were before – and it is entirely through luck.

Haringey Council are claiming that the art is something that enriched the area & was in part something that belonged to the people. It is unclear how they can make this judgement, though, when much of their time is spent cleaning graffiti (that is typically of much poorer quality) off walls. There is no body which decides what is graffiti & what is street art – and that one must be scrubbed off & one preserved, so there argument does not really carry much weight.

It would be great if the work could have stayed – but that is just my own personal opinion – nothing more. Just because you don’t like what is happening, it doesn’t mean that the law should suddenly intervene (without any clear legal framework under which to do so).

Comparisons to the Parthenon Marbles are far more ridiculous – street art by its nature is a transient thing – even with protection, paint will flake off in a few years, leading it to fade away. The sale is being made legally (despite the fact that many people are upset by it).

From:
Artinfo

February 20, 2013, 6:25 pm
London’s Stolen Banksy Heads to the Auction Block Despite 11th Hour English Rescue Attempt

Part of the inherent definition of street art is that it is, by nature, public. It appears on the sides of buildings and on sidewalks, in doorways and on concrete blocks. It most often appears in urban neighborhoods, and tends to lend itself to some sort of social commentary. The illicit nature of the craft is in itself subversive and, as a corollary, non-commercial. Or it was anyway.

In recent years, street art has become gritty-chic, touted by the likes of Kate Moss, and therefore increasingly popular as a collecting category. Original works by Banksy, probably the most important street artist of the last twenty years, now fetch six figures at auction. It was only a matter of time before people started ripping down walls to, quite literally, extract the value from them.
Read the rest of this entry »

New legislation in Europe may help recovery of looted national treasures

Posted at 8:58 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

New legislation proposed by the European Commission may help EU member states to recover artefacts that they believe have been illegally removed from their country. The clear limitation though, is that this would only work when both countries are EU members – which instantly strikes the majority of high profile restitution cases off the list of ones covered by the legislation. Although, the Parthenon Marbles would of course be covered.

Until more details of the legislation are published, it is hard to guage what the actual impact of it might be.

From:
New Europe

New legislation to facilitate recovery of illegally removed national treasures
Article | February 19, 2013 – 1:52pm | By Elena Ralli

The European Commission is planning to help Member States recover national treasures which have been unlawfully removed from their territory by amending its current legislation that has several inadequacies. Consequently, the European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani proposed today to strengthen the possibility for restitution available to Member States.

As Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship stated: “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of all Member States is of major importance to the European Union. Our proposal is therefore necessary to further strengthen the effectiveness of the fight against illegal trafficking in cultural goods. The harmful effect on our national treasures represent a serious threat to the preservation of the origins and history of our civilization.”
Read the rest of this entry »

February 20, 2013

More on the “stolen” Banksy artwork

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

Reading the original article closely, it appears that the Poundland store does not own the building from which the Banksy artwork was removed last week. On this basis, although many have complained about its removal, none of the complainants has been the actual owner of the wall – which suggests that the whole removal was probably arranged legitimately.

The auction page selling the artwork can be viewed here.

From:
Guardian

Banksy mural torn off London Poundland store for Miami auction

Haroon Siddique
Monday 18 February 2013 12.54 GMT

A Banksy mural has been put up for auction on a US website with a guide price of up to £450,000 after being removed from a building in north London.

The artwork of a barefoot boy using a sewing machine to stitch union flag bunting, apparently in a sweatshop, appeared on the outside wall of a Poundland shop in Wood Green in May. It was widely interpreted as condemning child labour and mocking the impending Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations.
Read the rest of this entry »

What David Cameron did not apologise for during his trip to India

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

David Cameron made apologies to India, about some of the wrongs committed by the British within the country during the colonial period. The apology stops far short of rectifying all the problems – for instance many in India are unhappy that the Koh-i-Noor diamond still occupies pride of place in the Crown Jewels. There are many more treasures in institutions such as the British Museum that India would also like returned.

From:
BBC News

20 February 2013 Last updated at 13:11
Andrew North South Asia correspondent
What David Cameron did not apologise for

By making a statement of regret over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, David Cameron has opened up a can of other questions and grievances over Britain’s colonial past.

What about the British museum returning all the treasures looted from India during the Raj? What about sending back the Kohinoor diamond still embedded in Queen Elizabeth’s crown?
Read the rest of this entry »

February 18, 2013

National Museum Security Group aims to fight back against art thieves

Posted at 2:30 pm in Similar cases

It is great that museums are working together, to try & tackle the problem of art theft. One can’t help thinking though, that they are much more interested in keeping artefacts in their own collections, that considering the plight of the original owners of many disputed items that ended up within their own collections.

From:
Independent

Look out, art thieves: museums are fighting back
New organisation set up after high-profile thefts will let galleries share information instantly
Sunday 17 February 2013

Should criminals attempt to lift a valuable Chinese artefact from a museum display case, or scrawl over a priceless painting, their photograph now could be with the police and 800 cultural institutions in 20 minutes.

A new national organisation has been set up to allow museums and galleries to share their experiences of criminal behaviour with the police and each other, as they look to beef up security in the wake of ongoing threats to their collections.
Read the rest of this entry »

Stealing a work of art – that some claim was vandalism in the first place

Posted at 2:14 pm in Similar cases

This story is interesting on a number of levels. Coming from Bristol, I saw Banksy’s work long before he was famous outside his home city & before his work became seen as art rather than vandalism. It was interesting to note the change of heart of the local newspapers, who switched their point of view within the space of a year, from stop this vandal ruining our city, to young Bristol artist achieves international recognition… Anyway, the case in this story is a peculiar one – the art appears without permission – an nobody gets paid for it initially, but if it is good enough, then it adds some sort of value to the wall that was picked as its location. At the end of the day, the artist expects many of their works to be erased by those who do not appreciate them, so the only person who really loses out is the owner of the wall it was on (and the other people who passed by the wall & appreciated it).

On the other hand, I don’t entirely buy into the idea that the artwork was a gift to the local community – I think it happened to be a wall in the right place & that was all there was to it.

That said, while the work was produced for free & was not commissioned as such, the idea that someone can come along & remove it without permission for purely personal gain is entirely wrong, just as much so as in other cases of stolen / looted art. The fact that it is possible to sell works such as this on the open market, suggests that many dealers & collectors are still completely lacking in any sort of moral framework to their dealings & that self policing of the industry does not work.

The fact that no complaint has been lodged with the police suggests that perhaps there is no crime to be reported – it would not surprise me if the person who authorised the removal & was doing the selling was in fact the owner of the wall.

It would be interesting to hear Banksy’s viewpoint on the story.

From:
Daily Mail

Banksy’s ‘Slave Labour’ mural taken from wall and put on U.S. art auction website for £450,000
Street art cut from London wall last week is now up for sale in America
Banksy Slave Labour could fetch nearly half a million at auction
Locals are furious their ‘gift’ from the mystery Bristol artist has been taken
By Sam Webb
PUBLISHED: 10:41, 18 February 2013 | UPDATED: 12:57, 18 February 2013

A painting by the elusive British guerilla artist Banksy has been gouged out of a wall in North London and is being sold by an American art dealer.

Banksy Slave Labour, depicting a child labourer sewing Union Jack bunting, is expected to fetch £450,000 on the Fine Art Auctions Miami website.
Read the rest of this entry »

February 13, 2013

Disputes over the return of antiquities

Posted at 9:17 am in Similar cases

Hugh Eakin’s post in the New York Times about museums handing back artefacts to thheir original owners prompted interesting & well reasoned responses from both Paul Barford & David Gill’s blogs.

Now, the newspaper has printed a selection of reader’s letters replying to the article.

From:
New York Times

The Dispute Over Returning Antiquities
Published: February 3, 2013

To the Editor:

“The Great Giveback,” by Hugh Eakin (Sunday Review, Jan. 27), made several important points that have been missing in the discussion about “repatriation” of museum-acquired artifacts.

But it did not mention that the repatriation issue applies to the United States as well. Until the creation of the Archaeological Conservancy in 1980, neither our state nor federal governments made much of an attempt to defend important sites all over this country from looters, who not only destroyed both the sites and thousands of artifacts as they bulldozed their way through Indian burial mounds, but also “illegally” sold off the remains to foreign buyers.
Read the rest of this entry »

November 27, 2012

All artefacts from February robbery at Olympia recovered by Greek police

Posted at 2:14 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

All the artefacts taken from the museum in Olympia earlier this year have now been recovered, after a police operation arrested three suspects.

From:
China Post

Greek police crack Olympia robbery, recover artefacts after three Greek men offer them
Updated Monday, November 26, 2012 0:03 am TWN, AFP

PATRAS, Greece–Greece officials announced on Saturday they had solved an embarrassing museum robbery in Olympia in February after a police sting operation netted three suspects and recovered dozens of archaeological artifacts.

Earlier Saturday, police said they had arrested three Greek men aged between 36 and 50, and were seeking another two suspects.
Read the rest of this entry »

November 23, 2012

Turkey wants a dialogue with France over disputed antiquities in Louvre

Posted at 2:01 pm in Similar cases

For some months now, Turkey has been increasing their efforts to retrieve disputed artefacts held by foreign museums. Now, their Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay is requesting a dialogue with the Louvre over the return of various artefacts held by the French Museum.

From:
Art Daily

Turkey’s Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay wants talks with France on ‘stolen’ antiques
Friday, November 23, 2012

PARIS (AFP).- Turkey wants to start a “dialogue” with French authorities for the return of tiles and other antiquities on display at the Louvre museum in Paris, Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said Thursday.

Saying the artefacts “were stolen at the end of the 19th century”, Gunay said: “We want talks to start between French authorities and the board controlling Turkish museums to work on the issue and take stock.
Read the rest of this entry »