Canada to return statue of Hindu goddess stolen over 100 years ago from India

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    Canada to return statue of Hindu goddess taken over 100 years earlier from India

    By: PTI|Toronto |

    November 21, 2020 2: 45: 47 pm





    Canada to return statue of Hindu goddess stolen over 100 years ago from India A Canadian university will soon return to India a distinct statue of Hindu goddess Annapoorna that was stolen from a shrine in Varanasi over a century earlier and discovered its way to the varsity’s art gallery. (Representational Image)

    A Canadian university will soon return to India a special statue of Hindu goddess Annapoorna that was taken from a shrine in Varanasi over a century ago and discovered its method to the varsity’s art gallery, in an effort to “ideal historic wrongs” and help conquer the “damaging legacy of colonialism”.

    The statue is part of the University of Regina’s collection at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. The statue became part of the original 1936 bequest by Norman MacKenzie, the gallery’s namesake.

    Artist Divya Mehra brought attention to the fact that the statue had actually been wrongfully taken over a century ago while going through MacKenzie’s irreversible collection and preparing for her exhibit, the university said in a statement on Thursday.

    The statue will soon start its journey house following a virtual repatriation event held on November 19.

    University’s Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Dr Thomas Chase practically met High Commissioner of India to Canada Ajay Bisaria to formally repatriate the statue, it said.

    Agents from the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Global Affairs Canada, and Canada Border Services Agency likewise went to the event.

    ” We are delighted that this unique statue of Annapoorna is on her method home. I am grateful to the University of Regina for their proactive engagement for the return of this cultural icon to India,” Bisaria stated.

    ” The move to voluntarily repatriate such cultural treasures reveals the maturity and depth of India-Canada relations,” he stated.

    When Mehra investigated the story behind the statue, she found that MacKenzie had noticed the statue while on a journey to India in1913 A stranger had actually overheard MacKenzie’s desire to have the statue, and stole it for him from its initial area– a shrine at stone actions on the riverbank of the Ganges at Varanasi, India, the varsity stated.

    Dr Siddhartha V Shah, Manager of Indian and South Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, identified the statue as the Hindu goddess Annapoorna.

    She holds a bowl of kheer (rice pudding) in one hand and a spoon in the other. These are items connected with Annapoorna, who is the goddess of food and the queen of the city of Varanasi. She is celebrated by her fans as one who nurtures and reinforces the body through food, and the soul through knowledge, the declaration said.

    ” The repatriation of the Annapoorna belongs to a global, long-overdue conversation in which museums seek to resolve hazardous and continuing imperial legacies developed into, in some cases, the really foundations of their collections. As stewards of cultural heritage, our obligation to act respectfully and morally is basic, as is the desire to look seriously at our own institutional histories,” stated Alex King, Curator/Preparator, University of Regina President’s Art Collection.

    When the current administration at the University and the MacKenzie Art Gallery were alerted to the documents which revealed the statue as an item of culture theft, both organizations committed to taking appropriate action, the university said.

    ” As a university, we have an obligation to right historical wrongs and assist overcome the destructive tradition of colonialism anywhere possible,” stated Chase.

    ” Repatriating this statue does not atone for the incorrect that was done a century earlier, but it is an appropriate and essential act today. I am happy to the MacKenzie Art Gallery, the Indian High Commission, and the Department of Canadian Heritage for their functions in making it possible,” the Vice-Chancellor stated.

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