AT least six national cultural property objects, illegally exported to the
They are part of the Jolika Collection, owned by American philanthropists John and Marcia Friede, which were donated to the
Their imminent return followed discussions and agreement reached between visiting Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Charles Abel, John Friede and de Young officials in
The milestone agreement, which acknowledged that a total of nine artifacts in the Jolika Collection were the property of the people of Papua New Guinea, came after years of wrangling between the PNG government and Friede over the ownership question.
Abel pursued the matter last month after it transpired that international auction house Sotheby’s
Last week, he travelled to the
More particularly, Abel highlighted the government’s position on the nine national cultural property artifacts, all illegally taken out from the
“An agreement was drafted and signed that committed both parties to the preservation of the Jolika collection, the recognition of the claim by Sotheby’s on a part of the collection and an undertaking to pursue jointly an option to raise funds to buy out the remaining Sotheby’s debt,” he said in a statement.
“The agreement also noted the PNG government’s claim to the nine objects, six of which are in the current possession of the de Young Museum.”
Abel said Sotheby’s was aware of the ownership question and would not lay claim to any of them to sell to recoup money – several millions of dollars – borrowed by John and Marcia over the years to collate the Jolika collection, arguably the best collection of New Guinea (PNG and Indonesia’s West Papua) in the world.
He described the collection as “a wonderful advertisement of our country”.
“We are grateful for the efforts of John Friede and the de Young Museum in preserving the collection, some of which were collected in the 1800s and may otherwise have deteriorated and been lost for forever,” Abel said.
The minister also visited the