The Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City is being considered as a future home for the returned artifacts.
Thousands of objects were looted from present-day Nigeria by British troops in a punitive mission in 1897.
While conversations about historic monuments ignite public debate, a small sculpture which was likely looted heads to auction at Christie’s Paris.
“The Brutish Museums” considers the histories of cruelty that western museums perpetuate when they do not endeavor to return looted colonial artifacts.
The RISD Museum has held this Benin bronze head in its collection for 80 years. “No one would have given it up unless under duress,” the curators say. But tracing its provenance and repatriating it is no simple matter.
Members of a Pan-African group stood trial in Paris on charges of attempted theft for an action staged at the city’s Quai Branly Museum.
Meanwhile, a new report commissioned by the Dutch culture minister suggests the return of “any cultural objects looted in former Dutch colonies if the source country so requests.”
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The protesters called to redirect government funding of the Humboldt Forum towards cultural decolonization initiatives.
Students and faculty from the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University held an action today to request a sculpture looted from the Kingdom of Benin be returned. The museum says they have begun conversations with the Nigerian government to return the bronze.
While the museum presents its attempt to identify trafficked antiquities as an altruistic enterprise, its policing of the antiquities market also distracts from its historic role in acquiring looted objects.
“Empire and Collecting,” a new self-guided tour, reflects an attempt to help visitors understand the colonial origins of the collection.