🏺 Denver Art Museum to return stolen relic
BY PEYTON GARCIA | @CITYCASTDENVER
DAM relinquishes more stolen relics
The Denver Art Museum — now touting the weighty title of one of the Best New Museums in the World, according to Condé Nast — has removed an ancient West African artifact from its collection with the intention of seeing it returned to its country of origin.
The artifact in question is a 16th/17th century bronze plaque from Benin (today southern Nigeria). It’s believed to have once adorned the royal palace of a Benin king. The relic has been proven stolen from its homeland, along with thousands of other local treasures, by British forces during a raid in 1897. Most of the looted goods were auctioned off in London to pay for the expedition, and over the years they’ve found themselves scattered among museums across the world.
How did it end up here?
The Denver Art Museum received its Benin bronze plaque back in 1955 from the Carlebach Gallery in New York. The DAM has been sleuthing the piece’s ownership history since last November and recently agreed to remove the piece from its collection.
We’ve been here before.
This isn’t the first time the museum has been in this position. Just last fall, DAM relinquished four Cambodian relics that were sold to the museum by Douglas Latchford, an art dealer known for pillaging and illegally selling ancient artifacts. It has also repatriated a Nepalese statue and some relics from Thailand.
But we’re not the only ones.
A recent global reckoning has museums reevaluating the ethics behind showcasing pieces they know were plundered during colonial rule, and many have begun repatriating these stolen artifacts. In fact, Nigeria has received so many of its pilfered artifacts back that the country plans to open a new museum to showcase the returned relics in their rightful homeland.
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This week’s things to do
💁♀️ WEDNESDAY: Be a boss lady
Women In Power is a community of women for women. Build connections and manifest success in your mind, body, spirit, finances, and relationships. (5-8 p.m.) [$15-$32]
🥡 THURSDAY: Get lunch at Civic Center Park
Civic Center EATS in back for the season, bringing a rotating schedule of beloved Denver food trucks to the park every Thursday (11 a.m.-2 p.m.). Bonus: This year, for the first time, Civic Center EATS will offer a “pay-what-you-can” model. [Free to attend]
🤣 THURSDAY: Get your laughs on
Don’t Tell, the most secretive comedy event in Denver, is hosting its next show this Thursday (7 p.m.) somewhere in the Sunnyside neighborhood. Exact location and performers will be announced day-of! [$25]
🎨 FRIDAY: Watch live mural painting
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👉 Stay tuned for more: Don’t miss Friday’s newsletter for our regularly scheduled weekend event roundup!