A UK charity arts chief has suggested British museums are hypocrites for showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, while the colonial artefacts they display are similar to that of Nazi-looted works.
Dr. Errol Francis, CEO and artistic director of arts charity ‘Culture&’, who has called for British museums and galleries to support the decolonization of their collections and reword racially sensitive artwork titles, has hit out at their recent public statements in support of BLM.
Francis accused the UK cultural institutions of hypocrisy for appearing to show support for oppressed black people on the one hand, while on the other still possessing items taken by force from African nations, such as the Benin Bronzes that were looted by the British in the late 19th century.
The arts charity boss also believes that colonial art held in museums and art galleries in the UK should be seen in the same way as artefacts seized by the Nazis illegally, telling the Guardian that they “should be returned.”
The museums themselves have this relationship with colonial violence. So when they made these statements about supporting Black Lives Matter, I think it actually drew attention to their own complicity in similar acts.
The British Museum’s director, Hartwig Fischer, wrote a blog post last month saying that the museum stands in solidarity with “the British Black community, with the African American community, with the Black community throughout the world.”
Several other high-profile galleries and museums responded to the Black Lives Matter movement – which was sparked into renewed action following the murder of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US – with public statements of support.
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