Dynamite Doug podcast is a pioneer in ‘looted heritage’ genre—but not its peak

The programme offers a compelling narrative for art crime beginners but more depth is needed when it comes to colonial repatriation.

Conversations around repatriation and the return of stolen art to its country of origin have finally moved into the mainstream. But it is still relatively rare to hear, outside of the industry, about the people who have recently been involved in the illegal antiquities trade.

The new podcast Dynamite Doug tells the story of how Douglas Latchford and his collaborator Emma Bunker illegally removed hundreds of sculptures from Cambodia, often by faking provenance records and export licences, to fill the galleries of museums in the West. Latchford was charged for antiquities trafficking in New York in 2019 but died the following year.

The narrative of Dynamite Doug zips along. The host, Canadian actress Ellen Wong, does an excellent job of presenting the story about Latchford and his associates, with only the occasional predictable Indiana Jones joke. As an introduction to the illegal antiquities and art trade, Dynamite Doug is good. Its pacing and accessibility will, hopefully, push listeners to think about the objects they see in museums. The season is short, with only six 30-minute episodes, and I found myself waiting for a crescendo at times—the compactness makes the series an easy listen, but the podcast format does not allow for the kind of footnoting and deeper context from which a story like this would benefit.

In full: https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2023/06/09/dynamite-doug-podcast-is-a-pioneer-in-looted-heritage-genrebut-not-its-peak

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