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Banksy sets auction record with £18.5m sale of shredded painting

Banksy

Banksy sets auction record with £18.5m sale of shredded painting

A partially shredded Banksy painting has sold for more than £18.5m at auction, a record for the street artist.

Love is in the Bin fetched £18,582,000 at Sotheby’s in London, selling for vastly more than its £4m-£6m guide price.

The artwork was the remains of the anonymous artist’s live destruction of his piece Girl with Balloon at the same auction house in a piece of performance art, which sold for £1m to an unnamed European woman in 2018.

Moments after the hammer fell at that auction, alarms sounded and the canvas dropped through a hidden shredder built into the bottom of the large Victorian-style frame.

The stunt left the bottom half in tatters and only a solitary red balloon left on a white background in the frame.

Alex Branczik, chairman of modern and contemporary art at Sotheby’s Asia, said: “It is almost three years to the day since one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century made auction history. Banksy is no stranger to making headlines and this latest chapter in his story has captured imaginations across the world – we can only begin to guess what might come next.”

Girl with Balloon, which depicts a small child reaching up towards a heart-shaped red balloon, was originally stencilled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy’s best-known images.

The piece had been on permanent loan to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart Museum in Germany since March 2019.

Banksy rose to prominence through a series of graffiti pieces that appeared on buildings across Britain, marked by their satirical themes.

Other recent works by the subversive artist included the opening of Dismaland, his dystopian, Disneyland-esque theme park in 2015, which he described as a “family theme park unsuitable for children”.

The Guardian reported last month that a collector bought a fake Banksy non-fungible token (NFT) for £244,000. The piece, called Great Redistribution of the Climate Change Disaster, was bought by the buyer named Pranksy only to have the currency returned after what appeared to be an elaborate hoax.

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Arts

Germany Set To Return 1,130 Looted Benin Bronzes To Nigeria – Lai Mohammed

Germany is to repatriate over 1,130 Benin Bronze artifacts it looted from Nigeria.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed disclosed this in an interview  in Washington DC after three museums in the U.S. repatriated 31 Benin Bronze artifacts to Nigeria.

He said both countries had signed agreement to that effect, adding that Nigeria is also getting positive response from France and Mexico to return some of its stolen artifacts.

“This agreement solidifies our shared commitment to combat looting and trafficking of precious cultural property while also establishing a process for the return of trafficked cultural objects, thus reducing the incentives to loot sites in Nigeria,” the minister said.

In 1897 during a British raid on Benin, the royal palace was torched and looted, and the oba (ruler) was exiled.

The British confiscated all royal treasures, giving some to individual officers and taking most to auction in London.

The estimated 3,000 objects eventually made their way into museums and private collections around the world.

The minister said the world had seen that it was an ethical and moral issue to return the artifacts back to their owners, noting that it is not a matter of law as claimed by the British Government.

“This is important for the British Museum to understand and for the British Government to know, because I was also in the British Museum to ask them to return thousands of the artifacts in its custody.

“The standard response is that until the British Parliament changes the status, they are not in position to so do.

The U.S. and Germany are now seeing that this matter is not of law but of morality, is about doing the right thing. I hope that the British government will also learn from the two countries and so same,’’ he said.

According to him, Nigeria is planning to sign an agreement with the British Government on November 28 to return about 86 other artefacts from various museums in UK.

The minister said that the campaign of the current administration for the return of and restitution of Nigeria’s looted /smuggled artifacts from around the world, which was launched in November 2019, was yielding positive result.

He said in January, Nigeria and the U.S. signed the bilateral cultural property agreement to prevent illicit import into the U.S. of some categories of Nigerian artifacts.

Mohammed said reclaiming the looted artifacts was important to enhance the cultural values of those art works, adding that Nigeria would continue to intensify its campaign for their repatriation.

The minister said the circumstance in which they were removed from Nigeria was punitive and there’s been a new wave, a new trend all by the world that stolen artifacts should be returned to their owners.

“Because for many art lovers, they don’t see beyond the aesthetic of these artifacts; these artifacts are also intrinsic and integral part of our history.

“Our culture is followed by social life, so it’s only fair to return them. It is moral to do so, it would enhance and improve youth understanding of their cultural background and history.

“Some of these cultural artifacts looted are used for certain ceremonies such as coronation of a new Oba (king). Sometimes they are use as calendars to mark events in the community,’’ he said.

In addition, the minister said that the Nigerian government was working on an arrangement to embark on travelling exhibitions of the returned artifacts.

“We are starting it very soon, and in conjunction with stakeholders, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments of Nigeria will embark on international travelling exhibitions.

“We want to embark on International travelling exhibitions with the artifacts being repatriated in a manner that will win more friends and promote greater goodwill and ethnic groups that produced the artifacts,’’ he said.

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Arts

French writer Annie Ernaux awarded Nobel Prize in literature

French writer Annie Ernaux awarded Nobel Prize in literature

French author Annie Ernaux was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in literature for “the courage and clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory,” the Swedish Academy said Thursday.

Ernaux, 82, started out writing autobiographical novels, but quickly abandoned fiction in favor of memoirs.

Her more than 20 books, most of them very short, chronicle events in her life and the lives of those around her. They present uncompromising portraits of sexual encounters, abortion, illness and the deaths of her parents.

Anders Olsson, chairman, Nobel Committee for literature, said Ernaux’s work was often “uncompromising and written in plain language, scraped clean.”

“She has achieved something admirable and enduring,” he told reporters after the announcement in Stockholm, Sweden.

Ernaux describes her style as “flat writing” (ecriture plate), a very objective view of the events she is describing, unshaped by florid description or overwhelming emotions.

In the book that made her name, “La Place” (A Man’s Place), about her relationship with her father, she writes: “No lyrical reminiscences, no triumphant displays of irony. This neutral writing style comes to me naturally.”

Her most critically acclaimed book was “The Years” (Les annees), published in 2008 and describing herself and wider French society from the end of World War II to the present day. Unlike in previous books, in “The Years,” Ernaux writes about herself in the third person, calling her character “she” rather than “I”. The book received numerous awards and honors.

Last year’s prize went to the Tanzanian-born, U.K.-based writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose novels explore the impact of migration on individuals and societies.

Gurnah was only the sixth Nobel literature laureate born in Africa, and the prize has long faced criticism that it is too focused on European and North American writers. It is also male-dominated, with just 16 women among its 118 laureates.

The prizes to Gurnah in 2021 and U.S. poet Louise Glück in 2020 helped the literature prize move on from years of controversy and scandal.

In 2018, the award was postponed after sex abuse allegations rocked the Swedish Academy, which names the Nobel literature committee, and sparked an exodus of members. The academy revamped itself but faced more criticism for giving the 2019 literature award to Austria’s Peter Handke, who has been called an apologist for Serbian war crimes.

A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off Monday with Swedish scientist Svante Paabo receiving the award in medicine for unlocking secrets of Neanderthal DNA that provided key insights into our immune system.

Three scientists jointly won the prize in physics Tuesday. Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger had shown that tiny particles can retain a connection with each other even when separated, a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement, that can be used for specialized computing and to encrypt information.

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded Wednesday to Americans Carolyn R. Bertozzi and K. Barry Sharpless, and Danish scientist Morten Meldal for developing a way of “snapping molecules together” that can be used to explore cells, map DNA and design drugs that can target diseases such as cancer more precisely.

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday and the economics award on Monday.

The prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on Dec. 10. The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, in 1895.

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Arts

No Nigerian Tribe Can Survive Alone- Lai Mohammed

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged for unity amongst various tribes, adding that no one culture in Nigeria can survive alone.

Mohammed stated this at the Cultural Centre, Calabar where he was treated to a night of cultural performance by the Cross River cultural troupe to herald World Tourism Day.

The minister who was in Calabar to celebrate the day said there were similarities among the cultures in Nigeria, meaning Nigerians were all one people.

He praised the Cross River Cultural Troupe for their world-class performance, adding that they had been treated to first-class cultural artistry that would be applauded anywhere in the world.

“The drama on unity states it clearly that not one of us can do it alone, we are all one people.

“I wish that those who say Nigeria is at war and has no future are here today to witness the world-class performance put together by this troupe.

“Anybody who has witnessed war will not wish for war or separation,” he advised.

Mohammed appealed to the younger generation to imbibe the performing arts, adding that very soon the nation’s culture would be extinct unless the next generation took over.

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