In light of the release of the Pandora Papers and exposes by a group of investigative journalists, the AC has been featured and mentioned in recent news articles. In the Guardian‘s “Offshore loot: how notorious dealer used trusts to hoard Khmer treasures,” Tess Davis, the Executive Director of the Antiquities Coalition, was featured for her comments on the lack of accountability being taken by museums for their potential participation in the illicit trade:
Tess Davis, the executive director of the Washington-based Antiquities Coalition, who has extensively researched Douglas Latchford and Cambodian looting networks, says that with a few exceptions, the response of museums worldwide has been “deafening silence”.
The Guardian wrote more on Latchford, the late art dealer, and the whereabouts of his infamous collection in an article on Australian galleries and in a feature on the successful repatriation of Cambodian relics.
Artnet News wrote on the issue as they explored how the leak of the Pandora Papers brought to light revelations on the channels through which dealers like Latchford could sell antiquities from Cambodia. Their feature on the Denver Art Museum’s repatriation of Cambodian antiquities represented the values of the city’s gallery, making a statement on accountability as a model to other museums. The Met followed suit as they launched a review of 45 pieces of art about which “new information” had come to light, as reported by Artnet News.
The New York Times reported on Cambodia’s call for the return of a series of antiquities currently in possession of the Met in New York City, stating they were looted from Khmer heritage sites.
The Art Newspaper revealed the wide range of museums that are alleged to hold antiquities that were looted or trafficked by antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford, as well as the call for repatriation of the relics to their heritage sites in Cambodia.
Hyperallergic looked into the Pandora Paper’s reports on the use of offshore accounts to trade looted antiquities, many of which can be found on display at the Met and the British Museum.
ABC News Australia stated that other actors were involved, too: an art dealer based in Sydney worked with Latchford as the Aussie dealer attempted to conduct online sales without disclosing the relics’ connection to the notorious cultural racketeer.
The Colorado Sun wrote more on the work being done by the Denver Art Museum to ensure that all ties to art looters and traffickers are being cut off. The explanation of Cambodia’s history and how conflict has left cultural heritage sites vulnerable to theft brings to light the importance of repatriation and ethical sourcing of art.
Business Insider revealed that the connection between Latchford and the British Museum had been ongoing since the early 1970s. The author states that “dozens” still remain in their collections, as well as in the possession of the Met museum in New York City.
Stay tuned for more news updates as the Pandora Papers continue to unravel.