This June, a cohort of activists staged a noteworthy intervention at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris to protest its collection of looted African objects. Mwazulu Diyabanza, a member of the Pan-African group Les Marrons Unis Dignes et Courageux (the Worthy and Courageous Maroons), removed a 19th-century funerary post from its display before beginning a march through the museum. During a live-streamed speech, he denounced the collection of colonial artifacts.
On September 30, the five activists stood trial on charges of attempted theft, facing up to 10 years in prison and €150,000 (~$176,000) in fines. While Diyabanza initially stated he intended to repatriate the post, which is from modern-day Chad or Sudan, he denies that the protest was truly an attempt to steal the artifact, but rather a symbolic act in support of repatriation.
According to the Art Newspaper, today’s verdict resulted in respective fines of €250 (~$293), €750 (~$880), and €1,000 (~$1174) for three of Diyabanza’s colleagues, while one of the activists was found innocent. As reported by the Art Newspaper, Diyabanza was ordered to pay €2,000 (~$2,349) total, due to a suspended fine of €1,000 from a previous case.
According to the AP, Diyabanza told reporters he intends to appeal the court’s ruling, asserting that the verdict reflected “the judges of a government that fails in its moral duties.”
“We get our legitimacy from the perpetual idea of trying to recover our heritage and giving our people access to it,” he added.
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Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
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“We clearly f-ed this one up,” said a Metropolitan Transit Authority rep, adding that the error in the artist’s last name is being fixed.
At least we won’t have to look at it on Earth.
From residencies, fellowships, and workshops to grants, open calls, and commissions, our monthly list of opportunities for artists, writers, and art workers.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
The statue could be a likeness of Trajan Decius, emperor of the Roman Empire from 249 to 251 CE.
The action could disrupt public access to the museum as workers campaign for higher wages and better labor conditions.