Stolen Art & Artifacts
The next time you’re in a museum, and you see artifacts from Mexico, Africa, Pacific Islands, Indonesia, Native American, and so on, ask yourself—how did it get from “there” (the country of origin) to “here”—in this museum? Did the museum buy it from the native peoples where it is from? In many cases, it was looted/plundered/stolen/ill-acquired by a colonizing nation. It was common practice for the colonialists to collect souvenirs and artifacts of this “new” discovery or newly occupied territory. These artifacts were sent back and displayed in a museum or some other institution. Today it is common practice for museums to sell their artifacts to other museums or private collectors, who then, after some amount of time, sell or gift them back to another museum or collector, etc.
Eventually we find ourselves admiring one of those taken-bought-sold-resold-donated-gifted artifacts and wondering “Is this legitimately here or has it been “laundered” through the exchange of multiple owners?”
This assignment focuses on these issues as well as the excavation of ancient sites (sometimes burial grounds).
This is a brief list of some examples of artworks that are under the banner of “acquired by questionable means.” (You do not have to use these works of art- though they should serve as inspiration for research. And besides, there’s a ton more where these came from.)
………There are so many more….
The Louvre Puts Nazi-Looted Art in Public Eye in Effort to Find Rightful Heirs
European Summit to Discuss the Return of Looted West African Art
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/european-museums-discuss-returning-looted-african-art-180964555/ (Links to an external site.)
To Return or Not: Who should own indigenous art?
(Links to an external site.)Mexico Aztec headdress could go home from Austria
(Links to an external site.)5 Native American Cultural Sites Looted in San Diego County https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/history/genealogy/5-native-american-cultural-sites-looted-in-san-diego-county/ (Links to an external site.)
You are required to use at least 4 artworks (include: artists, cultures/country, date) NOT from your textbook as examples throughout your writing. Please also include the image into the body of your essay, that way your writing will flow more smoothly. Do not include the images as separate documents.
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