The maker of baking products, muesli and pizza, promises to return any plundered art to heirs of Jewish owners
Returns of cultural property
Under the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, Canada has returned the following cultural property to its country of origin since 1997
Tip leads police to long-missing pieces by famed Quebec artist in Montreal home, but underworld art trade is widespread and international
I wanted to share the Smoke Signals sculpture (blurry top photo) by Allan Houser (Apache) on display at the Mashantucket Pequot’s casino Foxwoods. The tribe has amassed a huge collection of art. Why? They could afford it, being the world’s richest tribe, and they wanted to preserve a variety of Native American artworks, and support the artist and his or her family… The trickle-down theory is traditional practice in Indian Country. When I worked for them, our newspaper staff had a tour of the paintings and sculptures at the casino and at the Pequot Museum. It was incredible.
Art has huge value! As you can see, it’s a victim of trafficking, too! Across this planet, ART is vitally important, especially when we live in turbulent times. With poverty in the majority of tribal communities and in Third Worlds, art can save lives, when someone displays a talent, like painting, or music, or acting. That talent can be your ticket off the rez, and later, with enough money earned, it’s your ticket back. Many many cultures send their young adults out to make money so they can send money home…
Trading art and artifact for money started in colonial times. Were Native artists paid well? I seriously doubt it. Look at the British Museum and you can see how government officials and trading posts made trades with Indians for centuries. Robbed? Ah, I think so! Or anthropologists who came in and dug stuff up and called it their own. Those artifacts are now called “Cultural Property” and some looted countries and tribal nations are calling to get their property returned. And we know the Nazi stole artworks and the Jews are asking for it back.
Art has value for its history, too. Art defines who we are as humanity! [This act of getting it back to the original owners is called repatriation.]
In the US, big organizations like the National Endowment of the Arts help fund today’s artists and their communities, which helps tourism, which creates even more value and jobs. With t-rump, the arts are entering the danger zone:
President Donald Trump sent shockwaves through the art world when it shared its federal budget, which calls for completely scrapping the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The president and his pals are evidently blind to the value of art, but as many of us know so well, both agencies have supported countless individuals and organizations with the roughly .004% of the federal budget that each receives annually.
To illustrate just how beneficial the NEA’s work has been, artist and environmental engineer Tega Brain has programmed a website that scrolls through the types of grants the NEA awarded last year alone. Like end credits of a movie, each funded project moves slowly down your screen in bright colors to form a simple but clear message: we really need the NEA.
Support artists however and whenever you can… LT