Tuesday 26 August 2014

Canada: Banning Export or Regulating Export?

A Canadian collector claims that Canada unreasonably prevents the work of native artists finding international markets, using as his example sculpture by Haida artist John Robson (1846–1924), stating melodramatically:
"Canadian cultural property laws state, in essence, that any work by John Robson cannot be exported [...] Canada devours its children and then worships their bones".
he says this is the significance of the 'Cultural Property Export and Import Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-51)' and specifically the section on the Canadian Cultural Property Export Control List. This shows how the collector's mind works, if something is listed as in some way regulated and requires following a procedure to attain an end, that end is considered by collectors as de facto 'banned'. What they mean is 'too much trouble for me'.

Here is the official Guide to Exporting Cultural Property from Canada  and the Regulations Respecting the Export from Canada of Cultural Property .This is precisely the sort of regulation that is needed to stop all those Hopi masks etc. appearing on sale in foreign markets. 

Perhaps it is time that North American collectors and dealers stopped dishonestly misrepresenting (as here) the existing legislative means to regulate the movement of cultural property, accepted that such things are necessary and settled down to helping clean up the trade.

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