LONDON (AP) – A London museum agreed on August 7 to return a collection of Benin Bronzes looted in the late 19th century from what is now Nigeria as cultural institutions throughout Britain come under pressure to repatriate artifacts acquired during the colonial era. The Horniman Museum and Gardens in southeast London said that it would transfer a collection of 72 items to the Nigerian government. The decision comes after Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments formally asked for the artifacts to be returned earlier this year and following a consultation with community members, artists and schoolchildren in Nigeria and the U.K., the museum said.
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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Police in Rio de Janeiro are seeking the arrest of six people accused of involvement in stealing 16 artworks together valued at more than 700 million reais, (roughly equivalent to $139 million), some of which were recovered. Police said in a statement that the group stole the works from an 82-year-old widow, who had been married to an art collector and dealer.
PARIS (AP) – The Mona Lisa may maintain her famously enigmatic smile because she benefits from one of Paris’s best-kept secrets: An underground cooling system that’s helped the Louvre cope with the sweltering heat that has broken temperature records across Europe.
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – Apollo John Rwamparo speaks forlornly of the eight-legged stool, a symbol of authority for his ancient kingdom in Uganda, now glimpsed through a glass barrier at a museum thousands of miles away in Britain. The wooden stool is permanently exhibited at the University of Oxford, one of at least 279 objects there taken from Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom during the colonial era. Oxford has resisted attempts to have the stool repatriated, saying it was donated by a royal from a breakaway kingdom. “It’s quite frustrating,” said Rwamparo, a deputy prime minister and minister for tourism for the kingdom. “The best is for them to swallow their pride, like the French and the Germans have done, and return the artifacts.”
African countries’ efforts at restitution, after long resistance from authorities in Europe, are now blossoming with the return of treasured pieces that once were thought unattainable.
NEW YORK (AP) – A decades-old, mint condition Mickey Mantle baseball card could break a record at auction.
CHAUVIN, La. (AP) – Authorities in south-central Louisiana are looking for those responsible for vandalizing the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, a local landmark created by a self-taught artist. Three concrete sculptures were broken, and one is missing, said Gary LaFleur, head of the Center for Bayou Studies at Nicholls State University.
SILVER CITY, N.M. – Nichelle Nichols, who broke barriers for Black women in Hollywood when she played communications officer Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek television series, has died at the age of 89.
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) – A 500-year-old Orthodox icon that was looted from a church in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus has been returned to the island. The icon of the Enthroned Christ, which Cyprus’ Antiquities Department dates to around the end of the 15th century to the early 16th century, was presented at a ceremony July 12 to the head of the island’s Orthodox Church, Archbishop Chrysostomos.
ROME (AP) – On July 22, Italian environmental activists glued their hands to the glass protecting Sandro Botticelli’s painting Spring in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, police said. The museum said thanks to the glass, which was installed as a precaution several years ago, the masterpiece was unharmed.
NEW YORK – On July 25 at Sotheby’s, Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 inflight coverall jacket, worn during the historic 1969 mission to the moon and back, achieved $2,772,500 – making it the most valuable American space-flown artifact ever sold at auction, and the most valuable jacket sold at auction. The exceptionally rare garment was chased by multiple bidders for almost 10 minutes before selling to a bidder on the phone.