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Annapoorna Statue will soon return from Canada

High Commission of India, Ottawa


Annapoorna Statue will soon return from Canada

            Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that a statue of Hindu Goddess Annapoorna that left India more than a century ago is expected to return from Canada before long. Addressing the nation through the ever-popular Mann Ki Baat broadcast, the Prime Minister said, "Every Indian will be happy to know that the statue of Goddess Annapurna is coming back from Canada." The Prime Minister also thanked the Government of Canada for making the statue's return possi900-year-old The High Commission of India in Canada is facilitating the return of the Annapoorna Murti (Statue) from the University of Regina’s collection at MacKenzie Art Gallery. The statue was handed over to India by Dr. Thomas Chase, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Regina, at a virtual event on 19 November. Officials from Global Affairs Canada and Canada Border Service Agency also joined the event.

            The statue was part of the University’s collection administered by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and originally had formed part of an art collection belonging to Norman MacKenzie who died in 1936. It was recently discovered by the University that the statue had been acquired in 1913 under suspicious circumstances and did not conform to current principles of ethical acquisition. Once the University authorities became aware of this, they took immediate steps to return this cultural treasure to the people of India and reached out to the Indian High Commission for facilitating its return. 

            Accepting the return of this cultural icon, High Commissioner of India to Canada, Ajay Bisaria said “we are delighted that this unique Annapoorna Devi is on her way home”. While expressing gratitude to the University of Regina for their proactive engagement in returning the statue, the High Commissioner added, “the move to voluntary repatriate such cultural treasures shows the level of maturity and understanding in India-Canada relations”.

            Arrangements are being made for the transport of the statue from the University of Regina to India.

Annapoorna is the goddess of food and nourishment and is an avatar of Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. Annapoorna Devi is also considered the patron goddess of Kashi or Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, where it is believed that the goddess not only provides nourishment to the body, but also to the soul in the form of enlightenment.

            In 2015, during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Canada, the then Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper had presented the “Parrot Lady” sculpture, a 900 year old red sandstone statue, to Prime Minister Modi, for return to India.

            Countless other pieces of the valuable cultural heritage of India stolen from Indian locations remain in illegal possession of many public and private collections in several countries across the world. The Government of India continues to work with its partners for the early return of these cultural treasures to India