Canada to Return Stolen 18th-Century Annapurna Statue to India

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OTTAWA, CANADA, November 21, 2020 (India Times): A Canadian university will soon return to India a unique statue of Hindu Goddess Annapurna that was stolen from a shrine in Varanasi over a century ago and found its way to the varsity’s art gallery, in an attempt to “right historical wrongs” and help overcome the “damaging legacy of colonialism.”. The statue is part of the University of Regina’s collection at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. The statue was part of the original 1936 bequest by Norman MacKenzie, the gallery’s namesake.

Artist Divya Mehra brought attention to the fact that the statue had been wrongfully taken over a century ago while going through MacKenzie’s permanent collection and preparing for her exhibition, the university said in a statement on Thursday. According to a release from the Indian high commission, the university recently discovered that the Annapurna statue may have been acquired “under suspicious circumstances and did not conform to current principles of ethical acquisition.” The statue will soon begin its journey home following a virtual repatriation ceremony held on November 19. University’s Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Thomas Chase virtually met with High Commissioner of India to Canada Ajay Bisaria to officially repatriate the statue, it said.

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