The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Tuesday, July 5, 2022


Easter Island begs British Museum for statue return
An ancestor figure 'moai' known as Hoa Hakananai'a stands at the entrance to the Wellcome gallery in the British Museum in London on November 20, 2018. Adrian DENNIS / AFP.

by Anna Cuenca



LONDON (AFP).- The governor of Easter Island on Tuesday tearfully begged the British Museum to return one of its famous statues, saying: "Give us a chance so he can come back".

The London museum has held the Hoa Hakananai'a, one of the most spiritually important of the Chilean island's stone monoliths, for 150 years.

"My grandma, who passed away at almost 90 years, she never got the chance to see her ancestor," said governor Tarita Alarcon Rapu after meeting officials from the British Museum, accompanied by Felipe Ward, Chile's national assets minister.

"I am almost half a century alive and this is my first time," she added.

The statue, or "moai", is one of hundreds originally found on the island.

Carved by Polynesian colonisers, each of the big-headed figures was considered to represent tribal leaders or deified ancestors.

It was an emotional moment for the indigenous Rapa Nui visitors when they saw the basalt statue, which for them, contains the spirit of their people.

The monolith stands 2.4 metres tall and weighs four tonnes.

"I believe that my children and their children also deserve the opportunity to touch, see and learn from him," Rapu said, with tears in his eyes.

"We are just a body. You, the British people, have our soul," she added.

Hoa Hakananai'a was taken without permission in 1868 by the British frigate HMS Topaze, captained by Richard Powell, and given to Queen Victoria.

The British Museum has faced numerous claims to return artefacts to the countries they originate from, including the Elgin Marbles to Greece and the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria.

Cautious optimism
The Rapa Nui people, who last year gained self-administration over their ancestral lands on Easter Island, have launched a campaign to recover what they consider as one of the most important statues of the nearly 900 scattered across the South Pacific island.

With its scowling eyes, straight-lined mouth and paunchy profile, the monolith stands at the entrance to a gallery in the British Museum.

The moai is distinguished by carvings on the back depicting the island's birdman cult and other ceremonial aspects of Easter Island's enigmatic past.

The Rapa Nui believe it brought peace to the island, around the year 1000, ending inter-tribal wars.

After the meeting, Ward said he was optimistic but cautioned that the campaign for the return of the statue would be a long one.

"This is the first of many conversations we will have," he told reporters at the museum.

"We are looking forward to the next, and probably the Second one will be in Rapa Nui (Easter Island), where we invited the authorities of the museum."

It is the first time that the British Museum, which holds cultural treasures from around the globe, has agreed to hold talks about the statue.But on Tuesday the museum was talking only of a loan, not the return, on the artefact.

"The museum is one of the world's leading lenders and the trustees will always consider loan requests subject to usual conditions," a spokeswoman said.

The institution typically states its exhibits can be seen by millions of visitors for free in a global heritage context.


© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

November 21, 2018

Palm Beach Modern unveils works of art included in Thanksgiving weekend auction

MKG arranges restitution of a marble panel from Afghanistan

Easter Island begs British Museum for statue return

Bangladesh photographer freed after months in detention

Croatia wonders who is selling 'cherished' 1998 World Cup medal

Highlights from the private collection of musicians Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya announced

Hauser & Wirth appoints Koji Inoue as International Senior Director Post War & Contemporary Art

Quentin Bajac appointed new director of the Jeu de Paume

Boca Raton Museum of Art presents the untold story of Florida

Large-scale color photographs examine the commonalities of female identity in the US and Lebanon

Two exhibitions featuring Edward Burtynsky's series Anthropocene on view in New York

Michael Hoppen Gallery opens an exhibition of photographs by Bill Brandt

Looted St Mark mosaic returns home to Cyprus

Maggots, licorice and cobra hearts at Sweden's 'Disgusting Food Museum'

New exhibit combines poetry with graphic design to celebrate San Antonio's tricentennial and poetic legacy

Alison Jacques opens Branko Vlahović's first exhibition in the United Kingdom

Exhibition at Galerie Ron Mandos features new works by Kendell Geers and Krištof Kintera

New exhibition celebrates winter holidays through the art of children's picture books

Detroit Institute of Arts hires Samuel H. Kress Fellows in Conservation and European art

Tokyo Chuo Auction Hong Kong 5th anniversary sales feature important Chinese works of art

How gambling inspired some of the greatest works of art

Third edition of Bahrain Art Week opens in London

Swann Auction Galleries sell rare Louise Bourgeois portfolio for $413,000

India's first multi-dimensional interactive art space opens in Kolkata

Freeman's announces results of the autumn Modern & Contemporary Art auction




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful