Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Kapoor Shiva scandal prompts Australia to review its cultural property import laws

The Kapoor Shiva scandal at the National Gallery of Australia  is prompting Australia to review its cultural property import laws. Laws regulating the import and export of important cultural objects will be revamped following a series of acquisition scandals.
The Australian  Attorney general George Brandis has announced a review of the laws less than a week after the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) established an independent examination of provenance issues surrounding 54 items in its Asian art collection. [...] Brandis said the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act had not been substantially amended since 1986. It protects Australian cultural heritage by regulating the export of objects significant to the country’s history. It also governs the treatment and return of foreign cultural property which is found to have been illegally exported from another country. Barrister Shane Simpson will lead the review for the government and report to Brandis by the end of September. 
This is the same lawyer who had cautioned the National Gallery of Australia against spending $5.6 million on the Dancing Shiva until it had established who owned it.

Australian Associated Press ,'National Gallery's stolen shiva prompts review of import and export laws', The Guardian, Tuesday 23 December 2014.

Michaela Boland, 'Culture law expert Shane Simpson to head up review of heritage act', The Australian December 23, 2014.

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