Barakat, a gallery in London, has repatriated two artefacts, stolen from Nepal nearly 30 years ago, to the country’s embassy in London.
The two objects were found in the possession of the Barakat Gallery at their London branch. Upon being questioned, the owner Fayaz Barakat revealed that the works were inherited by deceased relatives and had been owned by his family for almost two decades. However, after he was informed by the Metropolitan Police of London that the objects were stolen, Barakat volunteered to give them away.
The two objects are a 16th century Torana, a traditional gateway made of carved wood, and a 17th-century statue of a kneeling devotee. Both objects were stolen in the 1980s from a sacred site near Kathmandu. Fortunately, photographs of both objects were taken by Ulrich von Schroeder for his book before they were stolen. These photographs helped the activist group Lost Arts of Nepal to determine that the two objects were stolen. They tweeted their findings in November last year, which prompted the authorities to take action.
In a ceremony at the Nepal Embassy in London, the Barakat Gallery handed over the two objects. The event was attended by John Roch (Detective Supridentent, London Metropolitan police) and Gyan Chandra Acharya (Nepalese Ambassador). The gallery, which is not under suspicion for any illegal trafficking, became the first private gallery in the UK to willfully repatriate a stolen work.