Finders Keepers – A Provocative Insight Into Museums

Walls ripped out from chapels are crudely stitched together to craft this room; like a homemade skin graft for a burnt hand, except the colours here don’t quite match and the skin was stolen from a poor man’s leg. A puzzle made of stained glass windows from Paris, columns from Rome, alters from Madrid are forced together to make this patchwork church. I have never seen so many crosses and so little religion, no one prays here but they all take pictures.

Ghost women fill up empty dresses behind the glass, the fabric stiff and the bodice hollow. Dresses stolen from the wardrobes of the rich dead will never be used, never worn, never touched again.

I have never seen so much empty space and glass. Paintings labelled By Anonymous line the walls, I wonder what their names were. Did anyone ever ask them?

Furniture smuggled out of 18th century Paris fills up the next room. While the chateaus of France lie empty after a bloody revolution, this room in London is brimming with French history. Shouldn’t they give it back? Or do Museums play finders keepers?

Ancient statues of Hindu gods are lined up by a woman who has never heard of Krishna or stepped into a temple. Lumped in the Asian room a hundred cultures have been trivialised and blended into one; like mixing a palate of exquisite colours into one muddy brown sludge.

A collection built from blood of silent prisoners of war, that has been maturing in the hands of thieves sits in a frozen building in the heart of an urban beating city. If we had seen how these artefacts had been obtained not rescued, would we still go and visit them in their prisons? We are quick to condemn colonisation but apparently happy to turn a blind eye when the fruits of it are ever so pretty.

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