This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Hindus are urging The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) of Australia to expedite the provenance of Krishna and Uma statues “identified as requiring further research”, and if proved stolen, return these to Hindu temples they originally belonged.
Queensland Government run QAGOMA has identified seven objects as “requiring further research” under its “Asian Art Provenance Research” project and the “supplied chain of ownership for these objects is currently being reviewed”. These include a 13th century bronze “Krishna the jubilant butter thief” and 12th/13th century bronze “Shivakami Uma”.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that QAGOMA should make sure that its commitments to ethical standards were fully met and publish a definite timeline for completing the provenance investigations.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged all the museums and art galleries of the world, including Australia, to make sure when acquiring new Hindu artifacts in the future that these were not looted from Hindu religious centers and should follow strict due diligence procedures and have transparent provenance. Pillaging of Hindu temples and archeological sites for mercantile greed was not okay, Zed indicated.
Rajan Zed further said that devotees had been worshipping these images of Hindu deities for centuries and, if confirmed as stolen, the world should respect their feelings by making arrangements to respectfully return to the religious institutions these plundered antiquities rightfully belonged to before being stolen. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly assist if needed, Zed pointed out.
QAGOMA in Brisbane, whose Vision is “to be the leading institution for the contemporary art” and whose history goes back to 1895, holds a collection of over 16,000 works and is home to the Children’s Art Centre and Cinémathèque. Sue Street, Chris Saines and Aaron Seeto are Trustees Chair, Director and Asian Art Curatorial Manager respectively of QAGOMA.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.