Friday, 2 October 2015

The Extension of the Export Ban on the Statue of Sekhemka

Press Statement from the Save Sekhemka Action Groups, UK and Egypt

The Action Groups are delighted to learn that the Department of Culture, Media and Sports and its Secretary of State, the Hon John Whittingdale MP, and its Minister for Arts, the Hon Ed Vaizey MP, have seen cultural sense by extending the Export Ban on the Sekhemka statue until 29 March 2016, thus hopefully ensuring that it remains in the UK.

We will continue to monitor the situation.  Meanwhile we sincerely hope that negotiations with the, as yet, anonymous buyer and the current owner of Sekhemka  will bear fruit and that one of the UK’s major museums will give the statue a new home – perhaps even the new museum complex proposed for the Olympic Park !

We also hope that this decision will discourage small and large museums from selling off their treasures and that there will be a way forward for the museum world in conjunction with the DCMS, Arts Council England and the Museums Association to KEEP collections intact for the enjoyment and education of future generations.  We wish the museum world strength and tenacity making this possible in true co-operation with each other.

This decision also sends a very strong international message: the UK and its government will not stand idly by tolerating illegal sales of looted artefacts, smuggling of artefacts or laundering of money rather the UK will adhere to the strong ICOM ethics that enable our world heritage to remain intact.
The Action Groups wish to thank all their supporters and we are glad we stayed with the “fight” to save Sekhemka which we now hope will benefit the rest of the museum world and our heritage.  We owe this to our future generations.

Gunilla Loe
On behalf of the Save Sekhemka Action Groups, UK and Egypt