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Ambassador Volk calls for cooperation, investment to secure heritage

B360
B360 May 29, 2024, 4:11 pm
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KATHMANDU: Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Felicity Volk, called on all governments to adequately resource and fund those tasked with creating inventories of heritage, identifying stolen artefacts, and managing restitution processes. 

"It is vital that governments support local communities to properly secure both existing and returned heritage. I ask us all to invest in a culture of accountability and enforcement where it is neither acceptable nor possible for those outside and within social or official systems to misappropriate heritage items," she said, addressing the National Conference on Restitution of Heritage.

Addressing the conference held on May 26 and 27, jointly hosted by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal, and the Nepal Heritage Recovery Campaign, the Australian Ambassador expressed the belief that Nepal is well placed to shape global approaches towards this end. "This reflects the role the country has played for thousands of years as the epicentre of tangible and intangible cultural heritage that has reached out into the region and beyond.”

Following the return of a 13th-century tympanum (tundal) from Australia to Ratneshwor Temple in Patan during the official visit of Australia’s Assistant Foreign Minister, Hon Tim Watts, in May 2023, the Australian Embassy was pleased to provide support for the two-day conference, according to a statement issued by the Embassy on Tuesday. 

The Senior Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Melanie Eastburn, joined the conference, with funding from the Australian government, to provide perspectives from Australia’s restitution experiences.

AGNSW Senior Curator Eastburn spoke about her work on the return to Nepal of the Yakshitundal in 2023, on a panel titled 'Lived Experiences of Repatriations: Return to the Community'. 

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