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Pratchaya Phinthong - 'Broken Hill' Exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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A fake skull of a fake skull
Pratchaya phinthong, chisenhale gallery

In 1921, a Swiss miner called Tom Zwiglaar made a groundbreaking discovery; he discovered a skull in Broken Hill, Zambia. It was the first humanoid skull to be found in Africa, and provided vital evidence to support Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

The skull was promptly moved to London for study, and then put on display at Natural History Museum, where it has remained ever since. As a result, the Lusaka National Museum in Zambia have had to make do with a replica, which is an issue that has prompted Pratchaya Phinthong's latest project.

The Bangkok based artist has been commissioned by the Chisenhale Gallery to produce is first solo UK exhibition, Broken Hill. It explores the status of the replica skull and questions the matter about the loan of artefacts. As part of his project, Phinthong has now borrowed the replica skull to display at the gallery. He then bought another model to replace it at the Lusaka National Museum. Now what is on display is a fake of a fake, raising even greater questions about authenticity.

The skull will be on display until the 1st September, but it is the issues raised that are more significant than the object itself. On the 7th August you can attend a special viewing that will include afternoon tea. It is free to attend, but bookings are recommended.
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Why? Fun for art lovers
When: Until 1st Sept
Phone: 44 (0)20 8981 4518
Where: Chisenhale Gallery
Cost: Free
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