In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 30th, June, 2020

Uncommon Igbo Statues Allegedly Stolen Throughout Nigerian Civil Battle Bought For N85.6m By British Firm (Images)

Rare Igbo Statues Allegedly Stolen During Nigerian Civil War Sold For N85.6m By British Company (Photos)

Stolen Igbo statues

Stolen Igbo statues


A British public sale firm, Christie’s has been known as out for promoting two life-sized picket statues stolen from Igboland for N85.6 million ($238,000) in an internet public sale on Monday, June 29, 2020.


The statues, labelled “A Couple of Igbo Figures Attributed to The Akwa Grasp”, have been offered to an internet bidder on Monday regardless of controversy surrounding how the corporate gained possession of them.


A Professor of African and American Diaspora Artwork, Chika Okeke-Agulu, had known as out Christie’s in a spirited marketing campaign over the cross few weeks to cease the sale of the statues. However, the marketing campaign failed.


He had argued that the statues have been two out of dozens of native artifacts stolen from the southeast area the place they have been made whereas the Igbo natives of the area have been locked in a lethal civil battle with the Nigerian authorities between 1967 and 1970.

“These artworks are stained with the blood of Biafra’s youngsters,” Okeke-Agulu wrote in an Instagram put up on June 6.


Nonetheless, Christie’s stated it doesn’t imagine the statues have been acquired illegally by Jacques Kerchache, the French collector that owned them.

Nigeria had already handed the Antiquities Ordinance regulation in 1953 to ban the commerce of stolen cultural artifacts, years earlier than the statues and others like them have been believed to have been transported in another country.


There have been concerted efforts over time to have African artifacts transported overseas by way of colonial exploitation or unlawful looting returned to the continent, however success has been uncommon.

READ ALSO:  Inside Obinwanne Okeke's Responsible Plea With U.S. Authorities



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In a 2017 op-ed article within the New York Occasions, I wrote about widespread looting of artwork from Japanese Nigeria throughout the Biafran Battle (1967-70), and that my mom nonetheless mourns the in a single day disappearance of numerous alusi (sacred sculptures) from communal shrines in my hometown, Umuoji, in Anambra State. These artwork raids from all indications have been sponsored by sellers and their shopper collectors largely primarily based in Europe and the US. It seems that later this month the venerable Christie’s will public sale two of those spectacular alusi (seen right here) stated to have been acquired in 1968-69 in situ by Jacques Kerchache (1942-2001). That’s, Mr. Kerchache acquired these sculptures within the Nri-Awka space (a half-hour drive from my hometown) throughout the darkest years of the Biafran Battle. Pricey Christie’s, let’s be clear in regards to the provenance of those sculptures you need to promote. Whereas between 500,000 and three million civilians, together with infants like me, have been dying of kwashiorkor and hunger inside Biafra; and whereas younger French docs have been within the battle zone establishing what we now know as Docs With out Borders, their compatriot, Mr. Kerchache, went there to purchase up my individuals’s cultural heritage, together with the 2 sculptures you are actually providing on the market. I write this so nobody, together with Christie’s and any potential purchaser of those loots from Biafra can declare ignorance of their true provenance. These artworks are stained with the blood of Biafra’s youngsters. #christies #warloots #biafranwar

A put up shared by Chika Okeke-Agulu (@chikaokekeagulu) on

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