The Met to Return 16 Statues to Cambodia and Thailand Over Trafficking Concerns
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The Met to Return 16 Statues to Cambodia and Thailand Over Trafficking Concerns

The Khmer-era sculptures are linked to an art dealer suspected of selling looted antiquities, authorities said

By GINGER ADAMS OTIS
Wed, Dec 20, 2023 9:13amGrey Clock 2 min

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to return 14 sculptures to Cambodia and two to Thailand, removing from its collection all Khmer-era artworks associated with an art dealer accused of selling antiquities illegally.

The Met said Friday it will temporarily display a selection of the 16 sculptures while arrangements are made for their repatriation. The works were made between the ninth and 14th centuries in the Angkorian period, the museum said. The Khmer empire ruled much of what is now Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam from about 802 to 1431.

The sculptures are associated with art dealer Douglas Latchford, who was indicted in 2019 by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which said he orchestrated a multiyear scheme to sell looted Cambodian antiquities on the international art market. The indictment was dropped after Latchford’s death in 2020. Authorities later secured a $12 million civil forfeiture against his estate for stolen Southeast Asian antiquities they alleged Latchford had sold.

The Met said it cooperated with authorities in the U.S. and Cambodia following Latchford’s indictment and received information that made it clear the sculptures should be returned.

“The Met is pleased to enter into this agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office, and greatly values our open dialogue with Cambodia and Thailand,” said Max Hollein, the director and chief executive of the Met.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Latchford was believed to have run “a vast antiquities trafficking network,” an allegation Latchford had denied. He urged cultural institutions and private collectors to remain vigilant about antiquity trafficking.

Many countries and cultures that were colonised have for decades asked institutions to return stolen artefacts. That effort has gained more traction in recent years, with many museums now openly acknowledging that some items in collections were gained through colonial exploitation and looting.

The Cambodian government in recent years has asked the Met and other museums to return artworks taken from their countries of origin under murky circumstances.

In 2013, the Met returned two 10th-century Cambodian stone statues, known as the “Kneeling Attendants,” which were also associated with Latchford. The statues were from the Koh Ker temple in the same province as the Angkor Wat temples. Officials said they believe they were stolen from the temple in the 1970s. The Met had acquired the statues from donors between 1987 and 1992, it said at the time.

One of the most high-profile repatriation efforts involves the Benin Bronzes, West African artefacts stolen more than a century ago from what is now Nigeria.

Roughly 3,000 to 5,000 artifacts were pillaged from the Kingdom of Benin by British soldiers in the late-19th century as the U.K. expanded its colonial empire in West Africa.

Many of the Benin Bronzes—a name used to cover a variety of artwork, including carved elephant tusks, brass plaques, and wooden heads—wound up in private collections and museums in Europe and the U.S. The Met returned three artifacts to Nigeria in 2021.



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Is ‘Rizz’ the Secret to Getting Ahead at Work?

Whether you call it charisma, charm or magnetism, some people seem like naturals. Good news: It can be learned.

By Rachel Feintzeig
Mon, Jul 22, 2024 4 min

Great leaders have it. Gen Z has a new word for it. Can the rest of us learn it?

Charisma—or rizz , as current teenage slang has anointed it—can feel like an ephemeral gift some are just born with. The chosen among us network and chitchat, exuding warmth as they effortlessly hold court. Then there’s everyone else, agonising over exclamation points in email drafts and internally replaying that joke they made in the meeting, wondering if it hit.

“Well, this is awkward,” Mike Rizzo, the head of a community for marketing operations professionals, says of rizz being crowned 2023 word of the year by the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s so close to his last name, but so far from how he sees himself. He sometimes gets sweaty palms before hosting webinars.

Who could blame us for obsessing over charisma, or lack thereof? It can lubricate social interactions, win us friends, and score promotions . It’s also possible to cultivate, assures Charles Duhigg, the author of a book about people he dubs super communicators.

At its heart, charisma isn’t about some grand performance. It’s a state we elicit in other people, Duhigg says. It’s about fostering connection and making our conversation partners feel they’re the charming—or interesting or funny—ones.

The key is to ask deeper, though not prying, questions that invite meaningful and revealing responses, Duhigg says. And match the other person’s vibes. Maybe they want to talk about emotions, the joy they felt watching their kid graduate from high school last weekend. Or maybe they’re just after straight-up logistics and want you to quickly tell them exactly how the team is going to turn around that presentation by tomorrow.

You might be hired into a company for your skill set, Duhigg says, but your ability to communicate and earn people’s trust propels you up the ladder: “That is leadership.”

Approachable and relatable

In reporting this column, I was surprised to hear many executives and professionals I find breezily confident and pleasantly chatty confess it wasn’t something that came naturally. They had to work on it.

Dave MacLennan , who served as chief executive of agricultural giant Cargill for nearly a decade, started by leaning into a nickname: DMac, first bestowed upon him in a C-suite meeting where half the executives were named Dave.

He liked the informality of it. The further he ascended up the corporate hierarchy, the more he strove to be approachable and relatable.

Employees “need a reason to follow you,” he says. “One of the reasons they’re going to follow you is that they feel they know you.”

He makes a point to remember the details and dates of people’s lives, such as colleagues’ birthdays. After making his acquaintance, in a meeting years ago at The Wall Street Journal’s offices, I was shocked to receive an email from his address months later. Subject line: You , a heading so compelling I still recall it. He went on to say he remembered I was due with my first child any day now and just wanted to say good luck.

“So many people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have a good memory for that,’” he says. Prioritise remembering, making notes on your phone if you need, he says.

Now a board member and an executive coach, MacLennan sent hundreds of handwritten notes during his tenure. He’d reach out to midlevel managers who’d just gotten a promotion, or engineers who showed him around meat-processing plants. He’d pen words of thanks or congratulations. And he’d address the envelopes himself.

“Your handwriting is a very personal thing about you,” he says. “Think about it. Twenty seconds. It makes such an impact.”

Everyone’s important

Doling out your charm selectively will backfire, says Carla Harris , a Morgan Stanley executive. She chats up the woman cleaning the office, the receptionist at her doctor’s, the guy waiting alongside her for the elevator.

“Don’t be confused,” she tells young bankers. Executive assistants are often the most powerful people in the building, and you never know how someone can help—or hurt—you down the line.

Harris once spent a year mentoring a junior worker in another department, not expecting anything in return. One day, Harris randomly mentioned she faced an uphill battle in meeting with a new client. Oh!, the 24-year-old said. Turns out, the client was her friend. She made the call right there, setting up Harris for a work win.

In the office, stop staring at your phone, Harris advises, and notice the people around you. Ask for their names. Push yourself to start a conversation with three random people every day.

Charisma for introverts

You can’t will yourself to be a bubbly extrovert, but you can find your own brand of charisma, says Vanessa Van Edwards, a communications trainer and author of a book about charismatic communication.

For introverted clients, she recommends using nonverbal cues. A slow triple nod shows people you’re listening. Placing your hands in the steeple position, together and facing up, denotes that you’re calm and present.

Try coming up with one question you’re known for. Not a canned, hokey ice-breaker, but something casual and simple that reflects your actual interests. One of her clients, a bookish executive struggling with uncomfortable, halting starts to his meetings, began kicking things off by asking “Reading anything good?”

Embracing your stumbles

Charisma starts with confidence. It’s not that captivating people don’t occasionally mispronounce a word or spill their coffee, says Henna Pryor, who wrote a book about embracing awkwardness at work. They just have a faster comeback rate than the rest of us. They call out the stumble instead of trying to hide it, make a small joke, and move on.

Being perfectly polished all the time is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. We know this, which is why appearing flawless can come off as fake. We like people who seem human, Pryor says.

Our most admired colleagues are often the ones who are good at their jobs and can laugh at themselves too, who occasionally trip or flub just like us.

“It creates this little moment of warmth,” she says, “that we actually find almost like a relief.”

MOST POPULAR
11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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