Geneva row over African cultural heritage

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Art experts have attacked the looting of African archaeological heritage on behalf of rich western collectors.

A group of specialists has pointed an accusing finger at a new exhibition of ancient African ceramics held at the Barbier-Mueller Museum in Geneva. But those responsible for the exhibition reject the criticism.

In a signed opinion column, entitled "Le pillage de l'histoire africaine" (The pillaging of African history) in the French-language newspaper Le Temps on Monday, Eric Huysecom, an archaeology professor at Geneva and Bamako universities, condemned the looting of African cultural heritage.

His criticism is particularly directed at the "African Terra Cotta: a Millenary Heritage" exhibition, organised by well-known Geneva collector, Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller, who specialises in ancient art from Africa, Asia and Oceania.

The article was signed by a dozen cultural heritage experts, including Hamady Bocoun, director of Senegal's Cultural Heritage Department, his colleague from Niger, Oumarou Ide, and Marie-Claude Morand, president of the Swiss branch of the International Council of Museums....

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