Kenyan government demands repatriation of the national values

Fragment of the exposition of the African art. Stanford University, California

In the nearest future museums of Great Britain and the USA can lose a considerable part of the collections of the African art. The government of Kenyan Republic has recently made the demand to return some thousand units of cultural and historical values which were exported from the country in 19th−20th centuries. The list of the unique works subject to repatriation includes 2000 exhibits of the British Museum and some thousand objects stored in the private and state collections of the USA.

Similar requirements had already taken place in the past. The refusal was motivated with the fact that the Kenyan infrastructure was not ready to receive and keep in appropriate conditions such quantity of works of art. Today, with the opening of the new National Museum in the capital of Kenya Republic Nairobi the construction of which was financed from the funds of the European union, these arguments are not current.

The Kenyan authorities underline that they do not demand the restitution of all works. «Complete repatriation will prevent cultural tourism, − the director of the National Museum Omar Farah announced. − We want the art of our country was accessible to people of Great Britain, but the most valuable exhibits should be returned».

Among the other national values which returning is demanded by the East African republic are relics of the national Kenyan hero Koitalel Arap Samoei. The leader of the Nandi tribe who died in 1905 at the battle with colonial armies of Great Britain is worshiped by Kenyans as the first fighter for freedom of the country.

Unlikely the European museums will agree with these requirements especially in the conditions of the growth of the interest for ethnic art. However the government of Kenya has a strong will. As the President of the country Mwai Kibaki announced «these objects are an important part of our history, and we will make all the efforts to return them back».

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Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 1:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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