During colonialism or civil wars, many artworks were lost. They were taken away from their places of origin while others were destroyed. For those that were taken away, there have been debates on whether they should be returned to their homeland. This is something that has been going on for years but a conclusion has never been reached. Despite many international bodies advocating that artwork should be repatriated, there have been many obstacles.
Ownership Issues Have Not Been Resolved
Some of these artworks were illegally taken away many decades ago from their place of origin. Their owners may have passed on or they gave up on them. One challenge that has been there when it comes to the art pieces being taken back to their homeland is ownership issues. Until this is resolved and the right compensation procedures put in place, these valuable objects cannot be repatriated.
Not Knowing the Origin
Another obstacle in the repatriation of artworks is the fact that some are not known where they came from. This means there have just been speculations of where the artwork originated from but no one is can ascertain this. If the art is taken to where it is speculated to have come from, it might end up in another wrong country.
Finding a Safe Home for the Artwork
Conservation standards in the areas the artwork is meant to be kept is another huge challenge. The countries where the artwork has been held are not ready to release them as they fear that they will not be well-maintained and might end up being destroyed. A safe home that meets international standards must be identified first which has not been easy.
The Process has been Quite Expensive
The process of doing proper research on the origin of the art pieces and the legal battle has been an expensive affair for those involved. It is also time-consuming and some parties have ended giving up on the process as the debate continues.
The many challenges faced in art repatriation has denied many countries an opportunity to conserve these valuable objects. These issues can be resolved but it has not been easy. Most of these valuable artistic creations are housed in world-renowned museums and the keepers are afraid that their value may deteriorate if they are repatriated. It is also unfortunate that the main keepers have taken advantage of the countries claiming ownership to the works.