Broken Hill : A Call from Africa


  • Thanavi Chotpradit นักศึกษาระดับปริญญาเอก Department of History of Art and Screen Media, Birkbeck, University of London


Africa, Skull, Museum, Postcolonialism, Contemporary art


Art repatriation or the return of art and cultural objects to their countries of origin is one of the essential elements of postcolonial cultural politics. From 1974 onwards, the Republic of Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia) has requested for the return of the Broken Hill Skull, the first early human fossil found in Africa, from the Natural History Museum in London. The skull was taken to England in 1921 by British coloniser’s. The story of the Broken Hill Skull inspired Thai artist, Pratchaya Phinthong, to create an exhibition entitled “The Broken Hill” at Chisenhale Gallery in London. The paper analyses the exhibition and the short documentary film, “The Broken Hill Man”. It investigates the power of museum and its narrative in constituting cultural artefacts and artworks, the issue of original and replica, Eurocentrism in museum and archeological practices, as well as art repatriation.


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