Bronzes to Benin, gold to Ghana … museums under fire on looted art

Title: Bronzes to Benin, gold to Ghana … museums under fire on looted art
Author: Ruth Maclean
Media Outlet: The Guardian
Publish Date: December 2, 2018

(…) “It’s a step in the right direction. France has taken a bold position,” said Iheanyi Onwuegbucha, a curator at Lagos’s Centre for Contemporary Art, saying that the UK should follow suit. “Even if it’s never ever implemented, it would be good to know, at least, how many objects from Nigeria are in British collections.”

(…) The former curator of the British Museum’s Africa galleries, Chris Spring, said France had “every right and reason to make that report”, and the “very contentious collections” in the UK should be looked at. But he said the British Museum was a “museum of the world for the world”.

“If Africa is not represented, that is a disaster. I think we need to remember London is a global African city, arguably the biggest African city in the world, if you think of all the different people. It’s really important that people of African heritage living in the UK and in Europe can see cultural artefacts of their own heritage.”

(…) Ogbechie however, said that if the roles were reversed, the conversation would be very different. “This is essentially as if the Benin kingdom went to London and raided Buckingham Palace,” he said. “And then much later we are discussing this issue and we’re saying, well they may have raided Buckingham Palace but Benin has a right to the works they took from Buckingham Palace because they have it anyway.””