SOAS University of London

Ashley Thompson interviewed on BBC World News

20 May 2022

On Thursday 12th May, Hiram W. Woodward Chair in Southeast Asian Art Professor Ashley Thompson appeared on BBC World News discussing the looting of ancient Khmer art, the impact of the looting on the Khmer people, and the legal work now taking place to restore these priceless and spiritually significant artefacts to their rightful homes.

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Professor Ashley Thompson speaks to BBC World News

This interview accompanies a BBC Documentary Podcast released on the same day that tells of how Cambodia has launched a legal campaign in the UK demanding the return of sacred statues which the government says were stolen in recent decades. New evidence suggests that many of the country’s prized treasures were taken by looters in the 1980s and 1990s and then sold on to some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert museum, in London. The documentary features SOAS Alphawood alumni Meas Sopheap, an archaeology graduate who now works with the Cambodia ministerial restitution team. Sopheap's moving testimony has also been celebrated in an interview with a BBC reporter in The Art Newspaper's podcast The Week in Art.

Khun Sathal inside the National Museum of Cambodia