Thousands of artifacts looted from African towns over a century ago line European and British Museums and institutions. After decades of campaigns for African pieces—such as the Benin bronzes to return home, the homecoming of the looted artworks finally began looking like a real possibility.
But in the middle of the global economic crisis brought sparked by the spread of the coronavirus that has devastated economies, a new market for African artifacts and art has emerged.
Christie’s, the British auction house, announced a curated “Arts of Africa, Oceania and North America” sale in Paris which includes African art such as the newly discovered Akan terracotta head (Ghana), Benin Bronze and an Urhobo figure (Nigeria). The artifacts from all around Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of Congo are valued from €30,000 to €900,000.
The Christie’s auction is embroiled in controversy. Christie’s can only guarantee the origin of the Bronze head as far back as 1890-1949 as a part of the Frederick Wolff-Knize collection that was shown in Vienna and New York.
Christie’s did not respond to a request for comment.
The Benin Bronze plaques that are offered by Christie’s are very similar to Bronze plaques from the St Petersburg and Berlin Museums; artworks with a well-documented history as part of looted artifacts from the Royal Court in the invasion of Benin City in 1897.
People are wanting to boycott Lush over actions made by its CEO Mark Constantine. Constantine recently took to social media to showcase that he was giving presents to police. This move has drawn a ton of criticism due to its insensitive nature regarding ongoing, worldwide protests for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality.
A number of people, including those working for Lush, are demanding that Lush step up and address the issues regarding race and the police. Lush is also accused of being performative and not actively contributing anything to BLM.
This recent controversy regarding Lush seems to be a far cry from their stance in 2018. In 2018, the cosmetics brand partnered with Police Spies Out of Lives for their “Spy Cops” campaign. Its purpose was to raise awareness of an ongoing undercover-policing scandal.
Lush drew some ire from that campaign as some accused them of being anti-cop. Perhaps this new move by Constantine is a fast and loose way to combat that opinion. But, it has certainly backfired.
Black Lives Matter protests were sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police. These protests have taken the world by storm with police being criticized for their historical brutality and excessive use of force, particularly against BIPOC. With the current protests, police are firing nonlethal rounds and tear-gassing innocent and peaceful bystanders and Constantine’s actions have provoked quite a response.
This was a lush campaign in 2018. A very different stance to what was posted last week.
Here are black owned brand alternatives to shop from! https://www.maneobjective.com/2016/11/9-black-owned-bath-body-alternatives-to-lush-cosmetics.html …
The tweet gained a lot of traction. Employees from Lush have since created a template that they are encouraging others to email to Lush HQ.
Protests can be dangerous places, especially demonstrations about police violence where officers use batons, shields, tear gas, rubber bullets and their fists on the participants.
That’s why people with medical training ― emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors and others ― usually come to provide aid, just like they do at other large gatherings. In addition to assaults by police officers, protesters have to worry about violence from counterprotesters, not to mention injuries from simply being in a large crowd and other health care emergencies, like heatstroke. The need for rapid medical assistance is real.
Whether these volunteer medics support the aims of Black Lives Matter protesters or not, their purpose is to help anyone who becomes sick or injured.
But as police across the United States have made plain ― particularly now, as people take to the streets to protest racism and police violence against Black Americans after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd last week ― it doesn’t matter who you are or why you’re there: The cops will take you out.
On top of instigating violence with peaceful protesters and escalating the demonstrations with shows of force and military-style gear and vehicles (and the actual military), police officers have targeted essential workers such as health care personnel and food deliverers, as well as journalists, including a HuffPost reporter.
Police brutality is wrong under any circumstances, but the instances of medical personnel being assaulted or harassed are deeply troubling.
Police used shotguns to fire bean bags filled with lead pellets at an injured protester and the medics trying to assist him during an Austin, Texas, demonstration.
Police arrested a physician and journalist who attended a protest in New York City to offer his services as a medical doctor.
In Asheville, North Carolina, police officers destroyed a medical assistance tent and the water supplies volunteers brought.
During times of war, soldiers aren’t allowed to attack military medics. It’s in the Geneva Convention, which states:
Medical personnel exclusively engaged in the search for, or the collection, transport or treatment of the wounded or sick, or in the prevention of disease, staff exclusively engaged in the administration of medical units and establishments, as well as chaplains attached to the armed forces, shall be respected and protected in all circumstances.
Even in their combat-ready armor, with their combat-style rifles and combat-looking vehicles, police officers aren’t soldiers and aren’t trained like soldiers. But if they want to dress up like soldiers, they should be expected, at a minimum, to follow the same rules soldiers do.
CHICAGO – Video streamed on Facebook Live by a community page in a Chicago suburb showed the moment angry residents took the time to rip a series of paper hearts reading “Black Lives Matter!” from a boarded-up storefront. The hearts were posted by a group of teenage girls.
As the unidentified women ripped the signs down from the plywood, the teenage girls who posted them could be seen crying as an elderly man yelled at them, “This is a good city. You want to ruin it!”
Fact check: Police did destroy a medic area during protests in Asheville, North Carolina
The claim: Asheville, NC, police destroyed a medical station during Tuesday night’s protest
After protests in Asheville, North Carolina, social media posts that show law enforcement busting water bottles went viral.
The incident Tuesday was caught on video and described by a medic volunteer.
The protest marked the third day of demonstrations in Asheville in response to the death of a black man, George Floyd, in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
Video by the Citizen Times shows Asheville police officers in riot gear and holding shields forming a protective circle around officers stomping and stabbing water bottles. Other officers destroyed medical supplies such as bandages and saline solution.
Sean Miller, a UNC-Asheville student who is head of communication for the medical team, said the 10-12 medics present were all clearly marked as such and did not provoke police in any way.
“A few minutes after 8 o’clock, we saw a SWAT team coming at us,” Miller said. “They immediately, when they approached, they said, ‘We’re Asheville Police Department, and you guys need to leave.’ They grabbed us by the shoulders and pushed out of the alleyway where we were trying to provide medical support.”
She said they had a verbal agreement with APD to be present, even after curfew.
Some of the medics had bruises and felt the effects of tear gas, but no one was seriously injured. They lost at least $700 in supplies, Miller said.
Officers didn’t give them an explanation for the destruction, she said.
Glenna Grant, 33, said she witnessed the officers destroy water bottles and medical supplies. Grant said she and others set up the medical center and did not plan to protest but rather provide a safe space for anyone injured during the night.
“We had eye wash, sutures, EMTs and doctors,” Grant said. “They threw several people to the ground. We were thrown, shouted at, screamed at and treated like criminals. No one resisted.”
Jon Jones, who works with the medical team, said police struck down a peaceful operation, and “those actions are inexcusable.”
“All of those officers took an oath to stand and protect the people, and there’s no room for error in that,” he said.
Did the city have an explanation?
In a Facebook post Wednesday, Mayor Esther Manheimer acknowledged the incident, which occurred at 8:14 p.m. in a small alley off the main public square downtown.
“I am aware of the incident involving officers destroying the medical supplies of demonstrators, including water bottles, food and other supplies,” Manheimer wrote. “Council has asked for an explanation of why that occurred.
“We are a city that cares, and I want to thank all of our officers who have taken a knee and worked to protect us,” Manheimer continued. “But this was a disappointing moment in an otherwise peaceful evening.”
Around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Police Chief David Zack issued a statement, explaining the officers were destroying potential projectiles at an unpermitted medical station. He said the medical crew received multiple warnings.
“We apologize for not being able to confiscate these supplies last night,” Zack said in a news release. “Over the past three days, APD has tried to eliminate objects that can be thrown at protesters and law enforcement. Because water bottles, in particular, have been continuously used over the last three nights, officers destroyed them. Officers also searched for potentially dangerous objects, such as explosives.”
He said the medical station was on private property without permission of the owner.
Miller disputes the chief’s account, saying she was at the station starting at 4 p.m. June 2.
“We didn’t receive a single warning,” she said. “They didn’t warn us whatsoever.”
She also said the mention of explosives was perplexing.
“There were absolutely no explosives within the medical area. None,” Miller said. “No fireworks, nothing that could even be perceived as dangerous.”
Miller did acknowledge that they inadvertently set up on private property June 2 without the property owner’s permission. They had spoken with management of the nearby restaurants and thought that was sufficient, she said, but they “didn’t have the awareness that there was a separate company that owned the entire property.”
Mia Wright said a police officer put his knee on her neck after pulling her from the car. Wright and other family members have no idea why they were targeted.