The transaction illuminates the role individuals can play in rectifying Europe’s history of colonial plunder, but it also reveals the inner workings of a system that allows such objects to land in private hands to begin with.
The new museum will house the return of 26 cultural artifacts on long-term loan from France. The objects were originally seized by French troops from Benin in 1892.
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.
Emmanuel Macron’s decision is a gesture of goodwill, but these objects comprise just 0.5 percent of the objects requested for restitution by the West African country.