An 18th Century statue of Goddess Annapurna stolen from India. Goddess Annapurna statue stolen from a shrine near Ganga River in Varanasi. The statue then transported to Canada. Therefore, Canada to return the Goddess Annapurna Statue.
The statue is from Varanasi and was part of the University of Regina’s collection house at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Thomas Chase the interim President and vice chancellor of the University of Regina hand over the statue to India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisra.
In a media release, the University of Regina said the statue was part of a bequest in 1936 by Norman MacKenzie, the gallery’s namesake. While preparing for an upcoming exhibit at the gallery, artist Divya Mehra went through MacKenzie’s collection and saw the statue.
“Artist Divya Mehra brought attention to the fact. She said that the statue taken over a century ago by wrong mean. While going through the MacKenzie’s permanent collection and preparing for her exhibition From India to Canada and Back to India”.
During #MaanKiBaat PM Modi shared this news with Indians. He said “Every Indian will feel proud to know that an ancient idol of Devi Annapurna is bought back from Canada to India. Almost 100years ago in 1913. This idol in 1913 stolen from Varanasi and smuggle out of the country.
However, the statue was identified by Dr Siddhartha V. Shah, Curator of Indian and South Asian Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, from her female physical characteristics. She holds a bowl of kheer (rice pudding) in one hand and a spoon in the other.
“The repatriation of the Annapurna is part of a global, long-overdue conversation in which museums seek to address harmful and continuing imperial legacies built into, sometimes, the very foundations of their collections. As stewards of cultural heritage, our responsibility to act respectfully and ethically is fundamental. It is the willingness to look critically at our own institutional histories,” said Alex King, Curator/Preparator, University of Regina President’s Art Collection.
“Today, we conduct due diligence on the provenance of incoming artwork. And will take steps to review objects that have been in our care before such standards were commonplace,” Alex added.