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Belgium hands over full inventory of objects to DRC

Plus: Carmen Herrera (1915–2022) | Mona Saudi (1945–2022) | David Zwirner is latest gallery to announce Los Angeles branch | and National Gallery of Canada creates department for Indigenous ways and decolonisation

20 February 2022

On Thursday, the Africa Museum and the Belgian federal government gave a list of more than 85,000 objects to Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The objects, which all date from 1885–1960 ( the period of colonial rule) form 70 per cent of the collection of the Africa Museum (formerly the Royal Museum for Central Africa) in Tervuren, just outside Brussels. The move comes after the governments of Belgium and the DRC approved a draft bill and legal framework in January for the return of looted objects. Thomas Dermine, Belgium’s State Secretary for Scientific Policy, described the handover of the inventory as ‘an important step in the implementation of the new approach to restitution’.

The Cuban-born artist Carmen Herrera has died at the age of 106. Best known for her paintings of geometric abstraction, Herrera went to finishing school in Paris before studying architecture in Havana for a year. Here she met her future husband Jesse Loewenthal. After studying at the Artists Students League of New York in 1943–47, Herrera and her husband moved to Paris and came into contact with members of the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles such as Jean Arp and Sonia Delaunay, who influenced her break with figuration. Back in New York, where she lived from 1954 until her death, Herrera steadily made work despite the lack of critical and market interest. It was only at the age of 89 that she came to wider attention and her paintings began to enter the collections of major museums such as MoMA in New York. Read Charles Darwent’s obituary for Apollo here.

The sculptor Mona Saudi has died at the age of 76, reports the Art Newspaper. The artist who made abstract sculptures out of stone was born in Jordan, moved to Beirut and studied sculpture at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Her works can be found in the collections of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the British Museum and in 2018, a survey show curated by Hoor Al Qasimi opened at the Sharjah Art Museum.

David Zwirner is the latest mega gallery to announce a branch in Los Angeles, to add to its spaces in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong. The news cames in the same month that Pace announced that it will merge with Kayne Griffin, whose gallery will now become an outpost of Pace. Artnews reports that the new Zwirner gallery is due to open in January 2023, will be located in East Hollywood and will be run by Alexandra Tuttle and Robert Goff. David Zwirner said in a statement: ‘We have seen our audience in Los Angeles and on the West Coast as a whole grow exponentially in recent years, so I feel our timing is right.’

The National Gallery of Canada has created a department for Indigenous ways and decolonisation. Its purpose, reports the Art Newspaper, is to ensure that the gallery’s programming and policies better represent the diversity of Canada and its Indigenous populations. Michelle LaVallee, who will be the new department’s director, is currently director of the Indigenous Art Centre at Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada in Gatineau, Québec, the oldest federal institution dedicated to Indigenous art.

 

 

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