We know this: that all art is the product of the modern human brain with its beginnings, over 100,000 years ago, in Africa. There, our species Homo sapiens sapiens evolved before spreading out around the globe to become the most successful animal ever. Those who migrated to the icy lands of Europe encountered Neanderthal people who, having evolved there over such a long period, had probably developed fair skin. The dark skinned, fully modern migrants who interbred with them produced the first figurative art in Europe. They themselves, in turn, gradually became fairer as they adapted to life at higher latitudes. Those are the facts. This is fiction: 'Race'.
Dr Zahi Hawass, an egyptologist who styles himself as his country's 'Indiana Jones', has pressed foreign governments, museums and collectors to hand back even those treasures taken and maintained with the best of intentions. The British Museum has long resisted his attempts to return the Rosetta Stone.
The unwritten rules of decorum state it is impolite to discuss sex, politics or religion at dinner parties. I would like to add one more topic to that list - cultural repatriation. Now, just months from the Olympics, the campaign is being stepped up once more for the return of the Elgin Marbles to the Greek nation...
Artist Grayson Perry has conceived a major new exhibition for the British Museum entitled 'The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' to be unveiled in early October 2011. As the artist, curator and guide behind the concept, Perry will explore a range of themes connected with notions of craftsmanship and sacred journeys: from shamanism, magic and holy relics to motorbikes, identity and contemporary culture.