It’s no secret that Africa has tried to get all of her looted artifacts back for years. Well, some recent news has made things even more problematic.
The following information comes from Quartz Africa.
Thousands of stolen African artifacts currently reside in European and British museums and institutions. And Christie’s, a British auction house, recently held an “Arts of Africa, Oceania, and North America” sale that took place in Paris, France. The auction included African art like the Akan terracotta head (Ghana), Benin Bronze, and the Urhobo figure (Nigeria). Artifacts from Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo are worth €30,000 to €900,000.
There are thousands of historical pieces residing in Belgium, the UK, Austria, and Germany. A French report estimates that the British museum has a collection of 69,000 works from Africa. But the museum has announced plans to lend some of the stolen pieces to a Benin museum set to open in 2021. Which has been one of the major reasons for not returning the items; a lack of museums and maintenance culture.
Regardless, many of the pieces hold sentimental value and are religious monuments that represent traditional African culture. A Nigerian linguist and Chevening researcher at the British Library, Kola Tubosun, stated the following:
“Many of the taken works have ritual significance from the places they are taken. When the owners of the art insist they want them [artworks] back in those places, it is their right to do so. But the ownership needs to be established.”
The fact that the British museum advised they would lend STOLEN African artifacts back to the continent validates European imperialism. The entitlement is mind-blowing but not surprising.
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Until Next Time…