Manchester Museum's decision to repatriate artefacts to Aboriginal Australians reflects an "existential crisis" in the sector, its Director says. Maximiliano Duron considers what this gesture could mean for the future of thousands of looted objects.
'As more and more museums in Europe and the United States begin to return objects looted from indigenous peoples during moments of colonization, the Manchester Museum in England has become the first one to do so in the United Kingdom.
The museum has repatriated a group of 43 objects considered sacred to four different indigenous groups in Australia: the Aranda people of Central Australia, the Gangalidda Garawa peoples of northwest Queensland in the northeast of the continent, the Nyamal people of the Pilbara, and the Yawuru people of Broome, both in Western Australian, according to the Art Newspaper.
Many of these objects, which have not been on display for several decades, are believed to have arrived in the country over a century ago, and the official return was completed as part of a series of ceremonies held this week in Manchester, which is part of an ongoing project that marks the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Captain James Cook to Australia.
In an interview, the Manchester Museum’s director, Esme Ward, told the Guardian, “Very often people will say, ‘Is it a slippery slope?’ No, I really don’t think it is."' ... Keep reading on Art News