July 29, 2009

Discussions on the return of Australian Aboriginal art

Posted at 1:03 pm in Similar cases

This article has a few additional details about the discussions over the potential return of some Aboriginal artefacts in UK Museums.

Thinking Australia

UK Move On Aboriginal Art

Negotiations between Australia and UK could soon re-start in a battle over the return of valuable Aboriginal artworks, writes Nick Gibson.

The Dja Dja Wurrung tribe are seeking the return of a pair of Aboriginal bark paintings – insured for more than $1m – that originate from Lake Boort, north-west of Melbourne.

The items were collected by a white farmer and given to the British Museum. In 2004, when the bark paintings were loaned to Museum Victoria for an exhibiton, members of the Dja Dja Wurrung tribe seized the artifacts and demanded their legal return.

A long-running legal battle has since ensued but talks have previously ended in stalemate.

The UK’s Natural History Museum has seven sets of remains belonging to Dja Dja Wurrung and Gunditjmara people while the remains of a member of Victorian tribe the Wathurong are currently in Oxford.

The Museum says it is now working on a way to decide if it will return the articles.

Recent meetings between museum chiefs and representatives of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation have been ‘productive’ and a breakthrough in the dispute could soon in in the offing.

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