“We never stopped making the bronzes even after those ones were stolen,” said a founding member of the Ahiamwen Guild. “I think we make them even better now.”
Despite the British Museum’s active participation in work towards restitution, the current display and captioning fail to be forthright or responsible.
Critics note that the Met has failed to address the hundreds of other works from Benin that remain in its collection.
Nigeria’s business leaders will have to give generously; politicians will have to put rivalries aside; and contemporary artists will have to embrace the project.
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.
“The Brutish Museums” considers the histories of cruelty that western museums perpetuate when they do not endeavor to return looted colonial artifacts.
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.”
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.