"People are calling for a post-racist society and they are calling for restitution as part of this picture," says Bénédicte Savoy
Photo: Grace Ndiritu's Healing the Museum (2019) at the Africa Museum in Brussels. © Caroline Lessire
Bénédicte Savoy, the French art historian who co-authored the Sarr-Savoy report in 2017, which proposed repatriating artefacts plundered from Africa, says the Black Lives Matter movement has sped up restitution efforts in France.
Speaking to The Art Newspaper ahead of an online festival on colonialism in museums on 17 October, Savoy says she has observed a “psychological change in the public” over the past few weeks and months. “Particularly after the racist, violent events we have seen in the US and elsewhere, people are calling for a post-racist society and they are calling for restitution as part of this picture,” she says.
Earlier this month, after years of dragging their heels, the National Assembly of France unanimously voted to return 27 colonial-era artefacts from French museums to Benin and Senegal. It was a strong sign, Savoy believes, of “deep and rapid change in terms of the paradigm shift” in France, where public debates around restitution have lagged behind those in Germany and the Netherlands.
In another “symbol of how things are changing”, just last week, the Congolese activist Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza was fined €1,000 for attempting to seize a funeral pole from the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris—prosecutors had initially sought a €150,000 fine and a ten-year prison sentence. Savoy says: “Diyabanza’s was a provocative gesture, of the kind which already exists in cinema and literature.”
Professor Benedicte Savoy
© David Ausserhofer photography
However, such calls for repatriation have been uttered—and ignored—before. Speaking during the online festival, organised by the Goethe Institut in collaboration with Turin’s Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Savoy says there is a “collective oblivion” surrounding restitution debates that happened at the end of the 1970s. “Very important political steps were undertaken” to return Africa objects 40 years ago, Savoy says, “yet the initiative failed”.
Comparing such amnesia to today’s debate on climate change, which also existed at the end of the 1970s, Savoy says museums across Europe were the “major force” in opposing restitution 40 years ago.
In Germany, “museum opposition was swift and effective to organise”, Savoy says. An internal paper circulated at the time stated the term “restitution” should be rejected in favour of “transfer”, while it was recommended museums keep “pointing out the legal situation” to combat “moral pressure”. Crucially, inventories were actively discouraged: “Both our ethnological museums and cultural administrations warn against the compilation of such lists. These would only cause all the more covetousness.”
As Savoy points out, such resistance came after huge strides were made by Ekpo Okpo Eyo, a leading archaeologist from Nigeria who was the director of the Federal Nigerian Department of Antiquities, and Senegal-born Amadou Mahtar M’Bow, the former director general of Unesco—the first black African to hold this position. Savoy credits them with turning the restitution debate into “a great worldwide political project”.
Among other things, their efforts led to the publication of a Restitution Form in three languages in 1981. As Savoy says: “This document shows how far this period went, and how close and how simple restitutions of cultural assets to the so-called Third World seemed to be.”
In France, an advisory commission was formed, led by the former Louvre director, Pierre Quoniam. His team’s recommendations included “advancing a return of cultural assets” and viewing such a return as “an act of solidarity as well as fairness”.
Meanwhile, in Germany, the liberal politician Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, gave a public statement in 1982 advising the government to “be generous with restitutions of cultural assets”. The following year, a loan exhibition from Nigeria curated by Eyo, including around 100 objects dating from 500 BC to the 19th century worth nearly $30m, took place on the Museum Island, then in East Berlin.
Savoy paints a different picture with the opening in December of the Humboldt Forum, a vast museum housing ethnographic collections in a reconstructed royal palace in the heart of Berlin. Savoy resigned from the Humboldt Forum’s advisory board in July 2017, over a lack of attention to provenance research, among other complaints. “Personally speaking, I don’t think it’s a good idea, good timing, or the right Read More – Source
Michael Apted: TV documentary pioneer and film-maker dies aged 79
Film director Michael Apted, best known for the Up series of TV documentaries following the lives of 14 people every seven years, has died aged 79.
He also directed Coal Miner’s Daughter, Gorillas In The Mist and the 1999 Bond movie The World Is Not Enough.
The original 7 Up in 1964 set out to document the life prospects of a range of children from all walks of life.
The show was inspired by the Aristotle quote “give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man”.
The first 7 Up show was followed by 14 Up at the start of the next decade, which interviewed the same children as teenagers – and the pattern was set right up until 63 Up in 2019.
Throughout all those intervening years ITV viewers became engrossed with the stories of private school trio Andrew, Charles and John, of Jackie who went through two divorces, of Nick who went from jobless and homeless to Liberal Democrat councillor, and of working class chatterbox Tony, whose life ambition was to become a jockey.
Apted’s shows – which won three Bafta awards – have often been described as the forerunner of modern-day reality TV series, giving its participants the time to tell their own stories on screen.
But unlike their modern counterparts, the original Up children tended to fade away from the limelight in the seven years between each chapter.
In 2008, Apted was made a companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the British film and television industries.
Thomas Schlamme, president of the Directors Guild of America, said Apted was a “fearless visionary” whose legacy would live on.
He said Apted, who was born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, “saw the trajectory of things when others didn’t and we were all beneficiaries of his wisdom and lifelong dedication”.
ITV’s managing director Kevin Lygo said the director’s six-decade career was “in itself truly remarkable”.
He said the Up series “demonstrated the possibilities of television at its finest in its ambition and its capacity to hold up a mirror to society and engage with and entertain people while enriching our perspective on the human condition”.
“The influence of Michael’s contribution to film and programme-making continues to be felt and he will be sadly missed,” Lygo added.
Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, producers of the James Bond film franchise, said Apted “was a director of enormous talent” and “beloved by all those who worked with him”.
“We loved working with him on The World Is Not Enough and send our love and support to his family, friends and colleagues,” they said.
A post on the Twitter account of the band Garbage, who performed the theme for The World Is Not Enough, labelled Apted a “delightful, charming soul”.
Composer David G Arnold, who composed the Bond theme and worked with Apted on three other non-Bond movies, said he felt “lucky” to work with him.
“A more trusting, funny, friendly and, most importantly, kind, person you’d never meet. So pleased to have known him and so sad that he’s gone,” Arnold wrote on Twitter.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55597263
Liverpool FC anthem singer Gerry Marsden dies aged 78
Gerry and the Pacemakers singer Gerry Marsden, whose version of You’ll Never Walk Alone became a football terrace anthem for his hometown club of Liverpool, has died at the age of 78.
His family said on Sunday he died after a short illness not linked to Covid-19.
Marsden’s band was one of the biggest success stories of the Merseybeat era, and in 1963 became the first to have their first three songs top the chart.
But the band’s other best known hit was Ferry Cross The Mersey came in 1964.
It was written by Marsden himself as a tribute to his city, and reached number eight.
Marsden was made an MBE in 2003 for services to charity after supporting victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
At the time, he said he was “over the moon” to have received the honour, following his support for numerous charities across Merseyside and beyond.
Liverpool FC posted on social media that Marsden’s words would “live on forever with us”.
While Marsden was a songwriter as well as a singer, his most enduring hit was actually a cover of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical number from 1945, that he had to convince his bandmates to record as their third single.
In many interviews over the years, he explained how fate played a part in his band ever recording the song. He was watching a Laurel and Hardy movie at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema in the early 1960s and, only because it was raining, he decided to stay for the second part of a double feature.
That turned out to be the film Carousel – which featured that song on its soundtrack – and Marsden was so moved by the lyrics that he became determined that it should become part of his band’s repertoire.
In a 2013 interview, Marsden told the Liverpool FC website how You’ll Never Walk Alone was adopted by the club’s fans as soon as it topped the chart in 1963: “I remember being at Anfield and before every kick off they used to play the top 10 from number 10 to number one, and so You’ll Never Walk Alone was played before the match. I was at the game and the fans started singing it.
“When it went out of the top 10 they took the song off the playlist and then for the next match the Kop were shouting ‘Where’s our song?’ So they had to put it back on.
“Now, every time I go to the game I still get goose pimples when the song comes on and I sing my head off.”
Sir Kenny Dalglish, who managed Liverpool at the time of the Hillsborough tragedy, tweeted that he was “saddened” by the news of Marsden’s death, and that You’ll Never Walk Alone was an “integral part of Liverpool Football Club, and never more so than now”.
By BBC Radio Merseyside’s Spencer Leigh
Gerry was an entertainer. He loved being an entertainer; he loved people seeing him in the street and asking him for his autograph and the like.
He had a very distinctive voice, and that is terribly important. You knew instantly it was him on those records. He was best on those ballads.
I think he really did them very well indeed. You’ll Never Walk Alone was a big show song that had been around for years and years, and lots of people had done it.
Just before Gerry brought his version out, Johnny Mathis brought his out. If that version had been played on the Kop, I don’t think the Kop would have taken to it because you couldn’t sing along with Johnny Mathis – he had too big a range and too perfect a voice.
But Gerry sounded like everyman and it was absolutely perfect for the Kop. I think it’s the greatest football anthem of the lot.
As well as being a Liverpool anthem, You’ll Never Walk Alone has also been adopted by fans at both Celtic in Scotland and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram posted a tribute on Twitter, saying he was “devastated” by the news.
Marsden’s career began at legendary live music venue, The Cavern Club, where The Pacemakers played nearly 200 times.
The club said on Twitter that Marsden was “not only a legend, but also a very good friend of The Cavern”.
Gerry and The Pacemakers were spotted by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who gave them the song How Do You Do It, which had been turned down by the Fab Four and Adam Faith, for their debut single.
The band achieved nine hit singles and two hit albums between 1963 and 1965, before splitting up.
Marsden pursued a solo career before the band reformed in 1974 for a world tour.
In 1985, Marsden was back in the pop spotlight when he was invited to be one of the vocalists of a charity version of You’ll Never Walk Alone, which was released to raise funds for victims of a fire at a Bradford City match.
In doing so, Marsden set another chart record by becoming the first person to sing on two different chart-topping versions of the same song.
So when, after the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989, the other Pacemakers classic of Ferry Cross The Mersey was chosen to raise funds for its victims and a group of famous Liverpudlian singers was gathered, Marsden was again included and was back at number one once more for a cause he held dear for the rest of his life.
Marsden was awarded the Freedom of Liverpool in April 2009, an occasion he marked by boarding a ferry across the Mersey and getting out his guitar to sing his famous hit which described the scene.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55524795
Dawn Wells, Mary Ann on ‘Gilligan’s Island,’ dies of Covid-19 complications at 82 Lisa France byline
Dawn Wells, who played the lovable castaway Mary Ann Summers on “Gilligan’s Island,” died in Los Angeles on Wednesday from Covid-19 complications, her publicist Harlan Boll confirmed to CNN.
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