Tamil Nadu

National Gallery of Australia returns 14 art works including Chola idols

Dancing child-saint Sambandar of 12th century belonging to Chola dynasty being returned to India.  

The National Gallery of Australia(NGA) on Thursday announced it would return 14 works of art from its Asian art collection to India.

The works of art being repatriated include 13 objects connected to art dealer Subhash Kapoor through Art of the Past and one acquired from art dealer William Wolff. The works include six bronze or stone sculptures, a brass processional standard, a painted scroll, and six photographs.

Another three sculptures sourced from Art of the Past have also been removed from the collection. Further research will be undertaken to identify their place of origin before they are repatriated.

Following this action, along with the repatriation of works in 2014, 2016, and 2019, the NGA will no longer hold any works acquired through Subhash Kapoor in its collection.

“The decision to return the works is the culmination of years of research, due diligence, and an evolving framework for decision-making that includes both legal principles and ethical considerations,” the NGA said in a media release.

Child-saint Sambandar of 12th century belonging to Chola dynasty being returned to India.

Child-saint Sambandar of 12th century belonging to Chola dynasty being returned to India.  


The NGA Director Nick Mitzevich said, “As the first outcome of this change, the Gallery will be returning 14 objects from the Indian art collection to their country of origin.This is the right thing to do, it’s culturally responsible, and the result of collaboration between Australia and India."

Mr. Mitzevich said the Gallery would continue its provenance research, including for the Asian art collection, and resolve the status of any works of concern.

The Indian High Commissioner to Australia, Manpreet Vohra, welcomed the decision by the Australian Government and the NGA to return the art-works.

The works being returned are: Child-saint Sambandar, dancing child-saint Sambandar of 12th century belonging to Chola dynasty, Processional standard [‘alam], from Hyderabad, Arch for a Jain shrine, 11th-12th century, Seated Jina, 1163 from Mount Abu region, Rajasthan, The divine couple Lakshmi and Vishnu [Lakshmi Narayana] 11-12th century, Durga Mahisasuramardini, from Gujarat.

S. Vijay Kumar, art enthusiast and co-founder of India Pride, said the latest round of restitutions from the NGA mark an end to our decade long battle with them for transparency and accountability of their Kapoor acquisitions.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:25:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/national-gallery-of-australia-returns-14-art-works-including-chola-idols/article35604254.ece

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