Nigeria

Europe and burden of looted African artefacts: Reparation or repatriation?

Title: Europe and burden of looted African artefacts: Reparation or repatriation?
Author: Gregory Austin Nwakunor
Media Outlet: The Guardian Arts
Publish Date: June 23, 2019

“Aside from Nigeria, Egypt has equally been consistent in their campaign to recover looted artefacts. Last week, Egypt began a process to halt the auction of a 3,000-year-old stone sculpture of the famed boy pharaoh Tutankhamun at Christie’s in London, while the auction house said its sale was legal.

The statue — a brown quartzite head depicting King Tut — is scheduled to be auctioned off in July, and could generate more than $5 million, according to Christie’s.”

Unpacking Medieval African Art’s Profound Global Legacy

Title: Unpacking Medieval African Art’s Profound Global Legacy
Author: Niama Safia Sandy
Media Outlet: Artsy
Publish Date: January 21, 2019

“Amid tense calls from contemporary African leaders for Western museums to return looted artifacts, the Block Museum chose to collaborate with African institutions like the Musée National and L’Institut des Sciences Humaines in Mali and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in Nigeria. Their efforts brought an unprecedented trove of items as-yet unseen outside of Africa to the exhibition.”

L'Afrique demande la restitution de biens culturels

Title: L'Afrique demande la restitution de biens culturels / Restitution von Kunstschätzen: Afrika will Fakten schaffen
Author: Luis Nicolas Jachmann
Media Outlet: Arte
Publish Date: January 2, 2019

“Le numérique offre de nouvelles possibilités car cet espace démocratique « n’est pas encore colonisé », comme le constate Al-Badri. « Il comporte un fort potentiel d’émancipation », mais, pour l’artiste, se contenter de numériser les objets qui se trouvent en Europe pour en envoyer une copie en Afrique n’est pas une bonne solution. Cela équivaudrait « à ne rien vouloir changer. Ce serait le pire usage que l’on puisse faire de la numérisation ».”

“Neue Möglichkeiten biete das Digitale, weil dieser demokratische Raum „noch nicht kolonisiert ist“, wie Al-Badri feststellt. „Es gibt ein großes emanzipatorisches Potential“, sagt sie. Die Objekte in Europa hingegen schlichtweg zu digitalisieren und eine Kopie nach Afrika zu schicken, sei der falsche Weg. Das stünde dann wieder für den Pfad, „nichts verändern zu wollen. Das wäre das Schlechteste, was man aus der Digitalisierung machen könnte“, sagt Al-Badri.”

 

Le retour des objets pillés pendant la période coloniale, un enjeu de taille au Nigeria

Title: Le retour des objets pillés pendant la période coloniale, un enjeu de taille au Nigeria
Author: Felicity Bodenstein
Media Outlet: The Conversation
Publish Date: December 30, 2018

“(…) Rendre, mais à qui ?

En effet, les négociations « d’état à état », n’ont rien d’évident dans le contexte des patrimoines en Afrique et le partage équilibré des responsabilités entre des instances nationales et des communautés d’origine dans des pays où l’identité nationale souffre encore de divisions très profondes est sans doute un enjeu central pour l’avenir des patrimoines, y compris hors de la question de la restitution.

(…) Il s’agit là d’un problème à aborder avec soin et sans aucun doute, Benin City ne peut pas et ne doit pas faire figure de cas général. Toutefois, on peut y observer un exemple du résultat d’une longue histoire de rapprochements et de collaborations entre différents acteurs de la politique patrimoniale à l’échelle des institutions traditionnelles, locales et fédérales tel que le musée national de Benin City, ouvert en 1973 à quelques pas du palais royal, sur la base de la collection de l’Oba (roi) Akenzua II offerte à la ville dans les années 1940.”

A guide to Africa's 'looted treasures’

Title: A guide to Africa's 'looted treasures’
Author: Ashley Lime
Media Outlet: BBC Africa, Nairobi
Publish Date: November 23, 2018

“During colonial rule in Africa, thousands of cultural artefacts were plundered. African countries want them back and major museums across Europe have agreed to loan the famous Benin Bronzes back to Nigeria. Now France has launched a report calling for thousands of African art in its museums to be returned to the continent.

(…) These were two infamous lions from the Tsavo region in Kenya, East Africa that killed and ate railway workers on the British Kenya-Uganda at the end of the 19th Century.

The labourers were building the railway line between Mombasa and Lake Victoria over nine months in 1898.

The two killer beasts were eventually shot dead by British engineer Lieutenant Colonel John Patterson, at the helm of the railway project.

The stuffed lions were purchased from Patterson by the Field Museum of Natural History in the US city of Chicago in 1925 and catalogued into the museum's permanent collections.

Lt Col Patterson reported the lions' feeding frenzy took the lives of 135 railway workers and black Africans, but the Field Museum says later research conducted by its scientists drastically reduced that estimate to 35.

The Kenya National Museum wants the lions returned.”

After 120 years, Nigeria’s stolen art could be returning home from Britain—but only on loan

Title: After 120 years, Nigeria’s stolen art could be returning home from Britain—but only on loan
Author: Asiedu, Kwasi Gyamfi
Media Outlet: Quartz Africa
Publish Date: June 21, 2018

Nigeria’s looted art could be returning home from cultural institutions such as the British Museum after officials said they were open to the idea of it being a loan. Some of the most prized items stolen by British forces are the Benin kingdom’s bronze statues.

The statues were pillaged in 1897 as British forces sought to wipe out the kingdom in what is known as the ‘punitive expedition’ for acts deemed an upfront to the colonial-occupier government. Despite repeated attempts by Nigerian authorities and traditional elders for them returned home, the statues remain unmoved in the British Museum in London or shipped across to other western museums.