Pieces stolen in 1892 will return to West Africa.
BBC reports that 26 pieces of West African artwork stolen during the colonial period will be returned to Benin.
It was French president Emmanuel Macron who ordered a group of thrones and statues currently on display at France’s Quai Branly Museum to be returned to Benin. His decision arrived after the publication of an experts’ report that African treasures in French museums be returned to their states of origin.
The 26 pieces in question were originally taken in 1892 during the war against what was then the Kingdom of Dahomey.
Officials in Benin requested the return of the pieces years ago. However, it took the president to actually commission a group of the aforementioned experts to conduct a study on African artworks in French museums. It was when they presented their findings on Friday that Macron declared the pieces would be returned “without delay.”
Macron “hopes that all possible circulation of these works is considered: returns but also exhibitions, loans, further cooperation”, says the Elysee palace.
During the colonial era, thousands of cultural pieces were collectively from their land by Western civilizations. According to the report, most of the approximately 46,000 African pieces in the collection at Quai Branly were acquired with some degree of force.
France marks the latest country to participate in this exchange after other European countries agreed to return artifacts to Nigeria.