Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Stolen African Art & Old Europe's 'Curative' Affront

Looted Ife Terracotta Sculpture on Display in British Museum
Let me vent today...I read this on NY Times few moments ago..
“There was a complete understanding about what would remain in Egypt and what would be taken to Germany,” Mrs. Grutters said by telephone. “Maybe there is a bit of jealousy on the part of Egypt over Nefertiti. In any event, I am not so sure Egypt has the best conditions for this statue,” she added. “And because it is so fragile, I am not sure the statue can even be flown. We have excellent conditions here in Germany.”  NY Times
What arrogance right? Excellent conditions in Germany for Egyptian Art so much to justify stealing and outright banditry by your forefathers? I guess if it were Jewish Art looted by the Nazis we might be writing a different headline for this story; but this is Africa. Yeah, the same Egypt with not so excellent conditions is home to millions of other artifacts that I am not seeing this snub complaining about. The great museums in Alexandria are not good enough for Egyptian Art, but punishing European climate is just about okay.

For far too long, European looters have hidden beyond this smokescreen of "having better conditions" for art works they literally stole. It is insulting to the thousands of African artists that still ply their trade in the motherland. If Africa is such a bad place for her own art works, why are these European snubs not offering express Visas and residency to all African artists? **Immigration alert! 

Yeah, African Art is so great we had to steal it and keep it in "better" Europe. After looting African resources, it is her art work we so brazenly stole that we will so brazenly try to keep! Yeah..take that snub. To me I say rubbish. The original Benin Bronze and Ife head still lies in British Museum as testimonies to British thievery! The Owo door and thousands of other stolen artifacts are brazenly displayed in European cities, attracting billions of tourists revenues annually while Europe remit chicken change in aid and IMF grants to African states. Of course it makes sense that Europe will continue to make this case, while African leaders can't get their act together. Kudos to Egypt for trying though; it is about time someone call out these folks. 

However the minimum is that the successors to the legacy of banditry should shut up and stop rubbing salt on Africa's wound with such silly comments. Of course, their age long insistence on using their judicial systems to legalize stealing won't cut it either.

read further here and here


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