Malian radical ordered to pay €2.7m for Timbuktu destruction

Plus: National Portrait Gallery acquires 37 portraits of black Britons | Chiara Fumai (1978–2017) | and recommended reading

18 August 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Malian radical ordered to pay €2.7m for Timbuktu destruction | The International Criminal Court has issued a landmark ruling ordering Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, the Malian militant who in September 2016 was convicted of intentionally directing attacks against cultural property in Timbuktu, to pay €2.7m in reparations for his crime. Al-Mahdi, who is currently serving a nine-year sentence, was a member of the jihadi group Ansar Dine, which seized territory in Mali for an approximately 10 month period in 2012. As he is unable to pay the damages, the ICC’s Trust Fund for Victims will provide the money, which will be focused on providing aid to the Timbuktu community.

National Portrait Gallery acquires 37 portraits of black Britons | The National Portrait Gallery in London today announced that it has acquired a portfolio of portraits of 37 eminent black Britons. Journalists, actors, musicians and politicians are among the sitters who were photographed by Simon Frederick for a 2016 BBC2 documentary Black is the New Black. The prints, which were offered as a gift to the institution, will be a subject of a display in November 2018.

Chiara Fumai (1978–2017) | Italian artist Chiara Fumai, known for her performative lectures drawing on the tradition of the female psychic, has died at the age of 39. La Reppublica reports that Fumai was found dead on Wednesday 16 August at a commercial gallery in the city of Bari in Italy (Italian language article). The Rome-born artist’s work, which encompassed performance, sound and video, collage and text, has been included in a number of acclaimed exhibitions institutions, notably the 13th edition of Documenta in 2012.

Recommended reading | Artist Kara Walker, known for her work exploring gender and race, has written a new artist statement for her forthcoming gallery exhibition, and it has garnered quite a response. At the New York Times, Blake Gopnik speaks to Walker’s assistant and considers the impetus for the statement. Also in the NYT: a map and annotated list of all the Confederate statues in the US which have either been removed or have been proposed for removal, after fatal violence erupted at a white nationalist rally protesting against the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville on Saturday. Finally, on this topic at Artnet, Ben Davis argues that such monuments – as opposed to preserving history – ‘were designed to erase a history we need to remember’.