Monday, December 13, 2021

EJIL (European Journal of International Law) Podcast: "Loot"

Recently, I participated in a conversation with Dan Hicks (Oxford University) and Evelien Campfens (Leiden University) on the place of law in the discourse and practices of restitution of objects looted by Europeans in the age of empire. This, I think, is one of the most substantive discussions I have been privileged to take part in. We engaged questions like: How does international law respond to calls for restitution? Does the law even matter; if so which kind? Who resists return, and why? What might restitution mean today? The podcast was moderated by Megan Donaldson (UCL, London) and Surabhi Ranganathan (Cambridge) for the European Journal of International Law Podcast series.
The Podcast is 51 minutes long. If you have the time (you ought to!), click here to LISTEN:

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Axios Podcast on the Afterlives of the Black Lives Matter Movement

It’s been 566 days since George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. His death spurred millions of people across the globe to protest in support of Black lives. We examine the impact in three locations: United Kingdom, Mexico and Nigeria.

Guests: Aba Amoah, co-founder of Justice for Black Lives; Alice Krozer, professor at the Center for Sociological Research at the College of Mexico; and Chika Okeke-Agulu, director of the African studies program at Princeton University and professor of art and archeology

Credits: "Axios Today" is brought to you by Axios and Pushkin Industries. This episode was produced by Nuria Marquez Martinez and edited by Alexandra Botti. Alex Sugiura is our sound engineer. Julia Redpath is our executive producer. Special thanks to editor-in-chief Sara Kehaulani Goo.


Saturday, December 4, 2021

CBC News feature on Museums and looted objects

This statue of the goddess Annapurna was stolen in 1913 from a Hindu temple in India by Regina lawyer Norman MacKenzie. 

Last night, Dec. 2, I discussed, with Kelda Yuen of the Canadian news network, CBC News, the matter of stolen artifacts in museum collections. This was in response to news that McKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan Province, Canada, is reviewing over 2,000 pieces following the return of an Indian statue originally stolen from its owners by a Canadian collector Norman MacKenzie, who later gifted his hoard to the museum that bears his name today.

Here's a clip of the news segment

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

This "Elu" Mask!

I trained as a wood sculptor with some of the best teachers you could wish for in the academy. And, I think I was quite good with my chisels, gouges, and adzes. If you doubt, go ask El Anatsui, my teacher and former studio master. Yep.

And yet, I am always humbled by the supreme mastery of Ogoni sculptors who fashioned exquisite "Elu" face masks of sassily modern, early-to-mid-20th-century characters such as this guy. Check out his defiantly chamfered high-top fade haircut, with its knife-thin vertical slit! 

What about the flawless lines. There is not a single one that is not supremely rendered: the sweep of the hairline, the brows, the elegantly upturned nose. 

Awesome meeting of inspired craft and imagination.