Thunderstorms likely in several areas of Saudi Arabia    The Crown Prince's keenness to develop citizens' capabilities    Saudi exports increase 79.6% in July    Joe Biden plays down chances of UK-US trade deal    UN agencies shocked by deaths near Belarus-Poland border    Saudi Arabia observes Alzheimer's Day with rest of world    Sex and the City star Willie Garson dies aged 57    FII institute launches global infectious diseases index    Workshop organized with investors from German companies in Riyadh    Jaishankar, Shoukry meet on sidelines of UNGA    Dr. Al-Angari chairs 18th meet of INTOSAI's policy, finance and administration panel    King, Crown Prince condole Egyptian president on death of Tantawi    SSC's CEO meets with his counterparts on sidelines of G20 Space Economy meeting    John Lennon stamps inspiring message of peace, on UN's big week    Al Burj, Chinar, CSG, Kashmir Stags, ARM, Pak Zalmi record big wins in Kanoo League    Four million Indians suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, conference told    Election special: Germany's digitalization deficit    Saudi International, Asian Tour confirm historic partnership    Boxer Pacquiao to run for Philippine president in 2022    Saudi Arabia to host Youth Weightlifting World Championships    Bollywood actor Sidharth Shukla dies at 40    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Directs KSrelief to Urgently Provide Malaysia with Medical, Preventive Equipment and Supplies to Address COVID-19 Pandemic    Weather Forecast for Sunday    Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Congratulates President of Maldives on Independence Day    RSNF Commander Patronizes Ceremonial Launching of His Majesty's Ship "Jazan"    OIC Condemns Houthi Attempts to Target Civilians in Saudi Arabia    Philippines evacuates thousands as monsoon rains flood cities, provinces    Heavy rain in India triggers floods, landslides; at least 125 dead    U.S. Records 64,321 New Infections of Coronavirus    Without Fans, Tokyo Olympics Kicked Off    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers at Arafat Holy Site    Dr. Mohammed Sulaiman Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's Pick to Chair IsDB Group for the next five years, unanimously approved by BoG Committee of Procedures    Saudi Press: Fitch affirms Saudi Credit Rating at "A" with a revised outlook to stable from negative    Handled Cargo at Saudi Ports Increases during June 2021    SDAIA, DARP & STC Launch Pilgrim's Smart Bracelet (NUSK)    Tabuk sculptor spends 8 years in carving entire Holy Qur'an on 30 marble slabs    2 Goals by Diaz Gives Colombia 3rd Place at Copa America    Yusuf Khan is dead, long live Dilip Kumar    Legendary actor Dilip Kumar, 98, passes away, and with him an era    Saudi Cinema Night at Arab World Institute in Paris Kicks Off    KSU Leads Joint International Scientific Project for Early Detection of Breast Cancer    Saudi Arabia to Participate in Cannes Film Festival 2021    Arab Cup U-17 Championship Draw Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Palestine, Kuwait, in the 1st Group    AWI Hosts Saudi Cinema Nights in Paris    Brazil Beats Chile at Copa America Despite 2nd-Half Red Card    Council of Senior Scholars: Muslim Brothers' Group Don't Represent Method of Islam, rather only Follows its Partisan Objectives, Violating our Graceful Religion    Eid Al-Adha Prayer Performed at the Grand Holy Mosque    Pilgrims Perform Dhuhr and Asr Prayers in Arafat Holy Site    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

National Gallery of Australia to return $2.2m of 'stolen' artworks to India
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 31 - 07 - 2021

The National Gallery of Australia announced Thursday that it will return more than a dozen "culturally significant" artworks to India due to the items' alleged links to looting and trafficking networks.
Thirteen of the works, which include bronze and stone sculptures, historical photographs and a painted scroll, had been purchased directly from the disgraced New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor, who stands accused of smuggling thousands of antiquities from across Asia. A 14th item, acquired from the late dealer William Wolff, will also be repatriated.
The decision follows what the Canberra gallery called "years of significant research" into the provenance of its Asian art collection. An additional three sculptures, also purchased from Kapoor's defunct Manhattan gallery Art of the Past, have been removed for further research and restitution, the museum said in a press release.
"We've spent many years assessing the available evidence before us," the museum's director, Nick Mitzevich, told CNN over the phone. "We've looked at all the legal and factual evidence, and on the balance of probability, these works were probably stolen or handled and illegally exported."
The 14 works, acquired by the gallery between 1989 and 2010, had been purchased for a combined A$3.03 million ($2.23 million), the museum confirmed.
According to a US criminal complaint against Kapoor and seven alleged co-conspirators, the dealer trafficked stolen antiques with a combined value of over $143 million. Authorities have seized more than 2,600 artifacts in connection with the investigation.
Kapoor is currently on trial in India, and is also the subject of an arrest warrant in the US, where he faces 86 counts, including grand larceny, conspiracy, scheme to defraud and criminal possession of stolen property.
US court documents allege that Kapoor's trafficking ring falsified authentication documents for items stolen from temples and archaeological sites across Southeast Asia, before selling the artifacts through his New York gallery. In 2011, Kapoor was arrested in Germany and sent to India to face charges.
Kapoor's lawyer in New York, Georges Lederman, said that his client will contest the charges.
"Kapoor has served 10 years awaiting trial in India, and assuming he is convicted in September, he will be extradited to New York sometime in 2022 following the completion of his sentence in India," Lederman said over the phone.
"He intends to contest the charges, and the underlying conduct he is being charged for in New York is the same for which he has already served in India."
Thursday's announcement marks the fourth time the National Gallery of Australia has returned items linked to Kapoor.
In 2014, the country's then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott handed a 900-year bronze dancing Shiva statue — bought by the museum for A$5.3 million ($3.9 million) six years prior ' to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a ceremony in New Delhi.
Two years later, a further two statues were repatriated, with three more handed back in 2019. The museum said its collection no longer contains artifacts acquired through Kapoor or his gallery.
The museum also said it was researching three other sculptures acquired through Art of the Past and has removed them from the collection. Mitzevich expressed his "sense of relief" that the items can now "really be appreciated by the Indian community."
"Many of the works are either cultural or religious objects, and they've been stuck in a state of uncertainty," he said, adding: "Our job is to be custodians of works of art, and when things are trapped in a state of uncertainty, they can't contribute to cultural life."
In a statement released by the museum, India's High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, welcomed the decision.
"The government of India is grateful for this extraordinary act of goodwill and gesture of friendship from Australia," he is quoted as saying. "These are outstanding pieces: Their return will be extremely well received by the government and people of India."
Only one of the 14 items was not linked to Kapoor —- a 12th-century statue, titled "The Child-Saint of Sambandar," that originates from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Purchased from the late art dealer William Wolff, the item is being returned after museum research found an historical image of the work in an Indian temple, a detail not included in the statue's documentation, said Mitzevich.
The National Gallery of Australia said it has introduced a "provenance assessment framework" to help identify items that may have been "stolen, illegally excavated, exported in contravention of the law of a foreign country, or unethically acquired."
Mitzevich added that investigations into the museum's Asian art collection continue, and that research is also being undertaken into the history of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection.
"I think we have to acknowledge that Kapoor initiated a worldwide fraud that affected many galleries around the world," said Mitzevich, adding that the museum's policies had "tightened" since 2018.
"The lessons learned from this is that extremely careful due diligence and verifying all chains of ownership independently are key parts of ... acquiring works of art." — CNN

Clic here to read the story from its source.