After Divya Mehra uncovered the colonial history behind a misidentified 18th-century statue, the Mackenzie Art Gallery repatriated it and acquired Mehra’s work about the figure in its stead.
How better to illustrate the inadequacy of current restitution efforts than to offer up as tribute an object by one of Germany’s most famous artists, who thought art could bring about transformative social change?
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.”
Four activists were fined for their live-streamed protest at the Paris museum, in which Mwazulu Diyabanza removed a 19th-century funerary post from its display.
Also, a work by Paolo Uccello, sold in a Sotheby’s sale this July for $3.1 million, was revealed to be looted by Nazis.
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.
Parallel to today’s protest at the RISD Museum, organizers from Decolonize This Place gathered at the Brooklyn Museum to decry stolen objects in the Brooklyn Museum’s collection.
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.
The publication of Felwine Sarr and Benedicte Savoy’s report recommending the restitution of stolen African objects and the approach of what is called a “migrant caravan” toward the US is not a coincidence.
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.
The proposed guidelines would bristle the French art world, but they could also endear the French president to the African countries he’s trying to build stronger economic partnerships with.