Will France's Museums Return African Art Treasures?

Benin may have the best chance to date of getting them back, as French President Emmanuel Macron vows to make the return of treasures from former African colonies a top priority. That vow will be tested next week, when Benin President Patrice Talon visits France. Restitution of Dahomey artifacts is expected to rank high in discussions between the two leaders, writes Lisa Bryant for the Voice of America.

France’s stockpiling of treasures from Dahomey happened during colonial fighting between 1892 and 1894, but it was also carried out by missionaries who “robbed communities of what they considered to be charms”, said Irenee Zevounou, Benin’s ambassador to UNESCO, the UN’s cultural body in Paris.

Many treasures taken by France from Benin - when it was still known as Dahomey - are now on display in French museums, including the Quai Branly in Paris Two female steatopyous figures said to represent Dahomey pygmies, West Africa.

Beninese art at the gallery of Robert Vallois, who teamed up with other gallery owners to build a museum and donate art to Benin.

Photo Essay


Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.