Showing 4 results for the tag: AllAfrica.

February 1, 2011

Nigeria & the looted artefacts from the Benin Empire

Posted at 1:37 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the proposed auction of an Queen Idia mask, looted from Benin in 1897. The auction is merely a symptom of a much wider ranging problem though – that museums & collectors pay too little attention to the actual provenance of the artefacts that they are acquiring.


Nigeria: Between the Country’s Artefacts And Western Iconoclasts
Ovwe Medeme
4 January 2011

Lagos — More controversies have arisen on the legality or otherwise of the refusal of the west to return the artefacts looted from the Benin Empire in 1897. Iconographic nature of the artefacts notwithstanding, foreign museums have continued to flaunt and exhibit the mask and other artefacts without recourse to their origin.

Before now, a lot of people have thought that there was only one Idia mask, the one in the British Museum. A few people realised that there was one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and another at the Seattle Art Museum as well as another in the Linden Museum, Stuttgart. There is currently the news of a fifth mask that was to have been sold later this year.
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September 19, 2008

Nigeria’s claims for the return of looted artefacts

Posted at 12:54 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku looks at how widely spread the Benin Bronzes are amongst museums of the west – but few of these institutions show any indication of willingness to enter into negotiations about how they might be repatriated.


Nigeria: The Quest of Reclaiming Stolen Cultural Objects from Western Countries
Vanguard (Lagos)
21 September 2008
Kwame Opoku

Last Thursday, on our Arts and Book Review pages, we published an article titled ‘Western countries may return stolen Benin artifacts if…”, where the spokeswoman of the Art Institute in Chicago, United States, Erin Hogan, was said to have expressed the willingness of the Western countries to return stolen Benin artifacts to the country if asked to do so by the Nigerian government.
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September 14, 2008

Building a national identity through cultural property

Posted at 4:40 pm in Similar cases

Many aspects of African culture have died out or been forgotten, but this could be in part due to removal of many of their most important artefacts to fill the museums of the west rather than to hod significance to their own people. This is far from the only problem in re-discovering a country’s culture, but it is a starting point & one that is resolved relatively easily if there is the will for both sides to negotiate.


Kenya: Fostering Nationhood
The East African (Nairobi)
OPINION – 14 September 2008
Posted to the web 15 September 2008
Betty Caplan

Two important cultural institutions — the National Museum and the RaMoMa Gallery — have reopened in the past few months with little pomp, circumstance or media attention.

But it seems that serious discussion on the arts has been overtaken by politics to such an extent that only John Kariuki in this paper took the trouble to point out that no provision for it had been made in the last budget — a short-sighted calculation since, if wisely handled, the arts can make big money.
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August 12, 2008

Safeguarding Nigeria’s treasures

Posted at 12:37 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Items such as the Benin Bronzes were removed from Nigeria in dubious circumstances during the colonial period. In some cases though, work needs to be done to secure the remaining artefacts within the country rather than losing focus on them whilst those outside the country are the issue.

This does not of course take into account that there is no moral argument for their retention by an appointed party without any attempts to enter into dialogue with the rightful owners.


Nigeria: Safe-Guarding Our Treasures
Daily Trust (Abuja)
12 August 2008

The original Benin bronze-head, the exquisite symbol of the creative ingenuity of the Bini, Nigerian and indeed African people still lies in some British museum where it is being kept, after having been stolen by the British colonialists.

Sporadic efforts at reclaiming it a few years ago became a court case and the British Court ruled that the bronze head may have originated from Nigeria but it is now a priceless world cultural heritage and therefore can be kept by any country, particularly when the country holding it would do a better job at its safe-keeping.
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