British Museum Stolen Goods Tour
British Museum, London. Sat 8th December 2018
Indigenous Australian Rodney Kelly points at his ancestor's shield
kept in a locked cupboard in the British Museum
and ends his talk by again blowing on his didgeridoo.
The tour's next stop was outside the current BP sponsored Assyrian
exhibition, and an Iraqi woman speaks.
The show includes objects looted from Iraq during the invasion in
2003 and bought by the British Museum
which clearly should be returned to Iraq. Looting of cultural artifacts
was considered respectable and normal
back in the days of the British Empire (or at least by the British)
but is no longer acceptable.
'Stolen Land, Stolen Culture, Stolen Clmate' - Tbe British Empire,
British Museum and British Petroleum (BP)
logos on the banner held up by the burglars, with a thrid handing
out leaflets about the protest.
Next we visited a room devoted to objects taken from Polynesia, where
the Pacific Island arts group the
Interisland Collective talked about the treatment by museums of Maori
and Pacific Islands cultural items and
read a statement from the Rapa Nui Pioneers on Easter Island calling
for the return of their stolen Moai Head.
The tour then moved to the Parthenon marbles - better known as the
Elgin marbles, acquired by Lord Elgin
Elgin claimed to have taken them with the permission of the Ottoman
Empire, then rulers of Greece, but this now
seems unlikely. One of the 'burglars' revealed himself as Danny Chivers
and to be part-Greek and talked about
a recent visit to the Acropolis Museum, close to the Parthenon, where
a room containing the marbles that
Elgin left in Athens are displayed, complete with gaps in the appropriate
places for those currently on display
in the British Museum. It seems clear that they should be returned
to Athens, and it would now be possible to
if expensive to make a set of visually identical replicas to continue
to display here. Perhaps in return for sending
them back, the BM could receive eplicas of those that remained in
Athens - and so both cities could have a full set.
The Rosetta Stone - another important artifact that might be replicated
and returned to Egypt but wasn't on the tour
Finally those who had made the whole tour stopped for a group photo
in front of the entrance to the
December main page
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londons industrial history
lea valley / river lea
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