‘The Brutish Museums: The Benin bronzes, colonial violence and cultural restitution’
19 March 2021 | 17:15-18:30
Prof. Dr. Dan Hicks, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
With Wim Manuhutu and Anne Wetsi Mpoma
Followed by a discussion on cultural restitution in the UK, The Netherlands and Belgium
Sign up link: https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/136956549727
Dan Hicks will discuss his widely acclaimed book The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution (2020). This will be followed by a discussion on colonial restitution in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium with Wim Manuhutu and Anne Wetsi Mpoma.
Dan Hicks FSA is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. He was Visiting Professor at the musée du quai Branly in 2017-18, and was awarded the Rivers Medal of the Royal Anthropological Society in 2017. Dan’s new book, The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution was published by Pluto Press in November 2020, and has been described in reviews by Ben Okri OBE as “a startling act of conscience”, by The Economist as “a real game-changer”, by The Guardian as “beautifully written and carefully argued”, by CNN as “unsparing”, by Nature as “timely”, and by the Sunday Times as “destined to become an essential text”. The Brutish Museums was listed as one of the New York Times Best Art Books of 2020, with the recommendation: “If you care about museums and the world, read this book”. Twitter: @ProfDanHicks
Wim Manuhutu (NL) was director of Museum Maluku in Utrecht (1987–2008). He curated exhibitions on the Moluccan history, culture and current events and developed the museum as one of the few ethnic museums in the Netherlands into a knowledge centre in the field of heritage and diversity. Manuhutu was also the Chair of the Commission History of Migration within the project Heritage Minorities (2000–2004). Currently, Manuhutu is a part-time lecturer in the history department of VU University Amsterdam, and he is researching the discussions on “common cultural heritage” in the cultural diplomatic relations between the Netherlands, Indonesia and Suriname. This subject is closely linked to the processing of the colonial past of the Netherlands and the post-colonial character of society that also manifests itself in the present. Wim Manuhutu is a member of the temporary committee on Colonial Collections of the Council for Culture in the Netherlands.
Anne Wetsi Mpoma (BE) is an art historian, curator, author and gallery owner. She proposes solutions to deconstruct and reinvent the arts and the imaginary for a more inclusive society. Director and founder of the Wetsi Art Gallery (2019, asbl Nouveau Système Artistique), an interdependent space that builds bridges with diverse audiences, particularly institutional ones, by showing the work of artists marginalized because of their “race”, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin and/or “disability”. In her essay “Resisting in the arts and culture in a postcolonial context” (in Being imposed upon, 2020), she analyzes the power relations between Belgian Afrodescendent women artists evolving on the margins and the holders of dominant power on the contemporary art scene. Anne Wetsi Mpoma is currently participating in the work of the experts appointed to draft a first report to guide the members of the Belgian Parliament participating in the commission charged with analysing Belgium’s colonial past and its current consequences.
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