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AMUM Gift Inspires Art Seminar, “Returning Home: Voices on Repatriation”

For release: November 19, 2013
For press information, contact Kimberly Rogers, 901/678-4164

The Art Museum at the University of Memphis (AMUM) will present a free public lecture, “Returning Home: Voices on Repatriation,” Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Art and Communication Building, room 310. Light refreshments will be served.

“Returning Home: Voices on Repatriation” will examine the ethical, emotional and legal issues of returning cultural material. The symposium, designed for casual and professional art/artifact collectors, will feature presentations from a variety of experts on the topic of repatriation. Dr. Genevieve Hill-Thomas, local historian of African art, will moderate the discussion after the presentations.

The symposium is presented by the Museum Studies Student Association and sponsored by AMUM, along with the C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa.

The idea for the symposium was born after the Art Museum received a bequest from an anonymous donor. Part of that gift was determined to be a pre-19th century Ethiopian manuscript bearing an imperial stamp. The donor had purchased the manuscript as a souvenir during a 1972 vacation to Addis Ababa.

During the presentations, Simeneh Betreyohannes Gebremariam, a native of Ethiopia, will explain the contents of the manuscript and why he recommends returning it to the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University. The Ethiopian manuscript will be on display in the Art Museum’s African Gallery through the end of December.

Other presenters will include:

Dr. Lorelei Corcoran, director of the U of M’s Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology, was asked by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement  to authenticate an Egyptian sarcophagus seized at Miami International Airport. Corcoran will explain her role in returning this coffin to Egypt.

Dr. Katherine Lambert-Pennington, associate professor of anthropology at the U of M, studies the predicament of culture for the Koori people of New South Wales with changing racial ideologies, Aboriginal policies and public perceptions of Aborigines.

Kirk Perry, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, is the executive officer for the Chickasaw Nation Division of Historic Preservation. His preservation and repatriation work covers homelands in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. The Chickasaw Nation is pursuing an international repatriation for the return of Chickasaw ancestors from the British Museum of Natural History.

Victoria Russell, a student at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law and senior managing editor of the Northern Kentucky Law Review, will talk about where art and artifacts have intersected with the law and what this means for the art/artifact owner. Russell received her MA in art history from the U of M.

For more information about the symposium, contact the Art Museum at 678-2224.

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