伦敦V&A博物馆向埃塞俄比亚长期借展被掠夺文物

Briefing: V&A Director Tristram Hunt Rules Out Return of Looted Ethiopian Treasures

伦敦的维多利亚和阿尔伯特(V&A)博物馆已经提出将重要文物归还埃塞俄比亚,这些文物在1868年马克达拉战役中遭到英国人的抢劫。文物虽仍然由博物馆拥有,但是属于长期向埃塞俄比亚借贷。这一举动迫使英国各地的其他机构,如大英图书馆和大英博物馆,考虑重新制定其藏品中被掠夺埃塞俄比亚文物的一些政策。 V&A也在4月5日举行了纪念战役150周年的展览。在当时的冲突期间,有700多名埃塞俄比亚士兵遇害。

博物馆馆长Tristram Hunt说:“像V&A这样的机构应该反思这个帝国的过去,对这段历史持开放态度,并去阐释这段历史。 我们不应该害怕历史,即使它是复杂而富有挑战性的。 作为一个机构,我们应该有勇气应对。”

Courtesy: V&A

Courtesy: V&A

The V&A’s director Tristram Hunt has ruled out an outright restitution of looted Ethiopian treasures. The museum director made headlines when he announced earlier in the week that he was interested in long-term loans of certain artefacts to their country of origin – he was referring to objects looted by British soldiers after the 1868 Battle of Maqdala, including a gold crown, royal wedding dress and gold chalice. But Hunt does not support the permanent and total return of treasures, as French president Emmanuel Macron has recently advocated regarding the holdings of African artefacts in Parisian museums. Hunt told The Guardian: ‘You have to take it item by item and you have to take it history by history. Once you unpick the histories of the collections it becomes a great deal more complicated and challenging.’

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After allegations of sexual misconduct made against the architect Richard Meier, more women have come forward to accuse him, in a New York Times report. They say that Meier’s behaviour was an open secret at his firm. Meier and his partners have issued a statement say that the allegations ‘do not reflect the ethos and culture of the firm.’

Activists have published an open letter calling for the Brooklyn Museum to create a ‘decolonization commission’. The demand follows the museum’s controversial decision to appoint a white woman, Kristen Windmuller-Luna, as its curator of African art, with many arguing that the institution should have hired a person of colour for the role. The group Decolonize This Place says that the appointment ‘reflects deeper structural flaws within this museum’s culture in particular and in the field, more generally’. The creation of a decolonization commission would send a message ‘about the museum’s will to redress ongoing legacies of oppression, especially when it comes to the status of African art and culture,’ they argue. You can read it in full over here.

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