Europe Returns Looted Colonial-Era African Artifacts


The return of looted colonial-era African artifacts is gaining traction as France prepares to return 26 stolen works of art to Benin. British universities formally returned artwork to African governments, and French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Benin exhibit.

According to the French President, restitution is a comprehensive cooperation program that will strengthen their bonds and create opportunities for discussions, meetings, and projects.

These royal treasures from Bomi’s former capital city have kept the cabralian museum dedicated to African art in Paris.

Totem statues and the throne of King Berhansen de Homie’s last independent rule are among the works looted when colonial troops ransacked the palace in 1892.

On November 9th, Emmanuel Macron will formally hand over the works to Benin’s president, Patrice Tallon. 

Cambridge University has returned a bronze statue that was looted a century ago to Nigeria. It is the first British institution to return a colonial-era object taken from the continent.

The student’s father gave Cockrell to the college in 1905. It is one of the hundreds of terrified sculptures and carvings known as Benin bronzes that were looted from the former kingdom of Benin in southern Nigeria.

Abdoulaye Imorou, site manager of the Abomey royal palaces, expressed his excitement about the artifacts’ return to Nigeria.

 “We are very happy that the artifact which has been away from Nigeria for decades is in good shape, excellent shape and by the time we take this object back to Nigeria, people will be extremely excited,” he said.

They held a similar ceremony the day before at Aberdeen University in Scotland. Other Western institutions have said they want to return other looted African treasures since then.

Anti-racism movements in 2020 and subsequent questions about colonial legacy fueled the campaign for the return of looted artwork to Africa.

According to experts, up to 90% of Africa’s heritage is currently outside the continent.


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