National Museum of Art of Australia to return stolen works of art from India

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The National Art Museum of Australia is preparing to return the collection of 14 works of art to India, including bronze and stone sculptures, painted parchment and photographs.

The artwork – acquired by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) between 1989 and 2009 – is associated with disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported.

These artifacts, which will be handed over to the Indian government, are worth around $ 3 million.

The museum, where the art was kept, established that the artifacts were stolen and illegally exported. Nick Mitzevich, who is the director of NGA, said Kapoor has shown his business practices to be unethical.

“As a 21st century institution, we need to look at the much broader ramifications of decision making and we need to balance legal requirements with ethics,” he said. “We have a framework that I think strikes the appropriate balance.”

This is the fourth time the NGA has returned antiques it has purchased from Kapoor, who is awaiting trial after being accused of running an artefact smuggling ring.

Indian High Commissioner to Australia Manpreet Vohra hailed the latest decision.

“The Indian government is grateful for this extraordinary act of goodwill and this gesture of friendship on the part of Australia,” he said, quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald. “These are exceptional pieces: their return will be extremely well received by the Indian government and people.”

Likewise, in 2014, the museum agreed to return to India a 5 million dollar statue, Shiva as Lord of the Dance. The bronze statue was handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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