The statue of King Guézo, royal recades the throne of Glélé, sacred gates of his palace … These works of art were pilléees by France during the colonization of the current Benin from 1894 to 1958. They are now largely in the quai Branly Museum, with over 5,000 Beninese dissiminées objects or in private collections.
On 27 July, the Benin said it had made a formal request to the Foreign Ministry to recover stolen assets. The Benin relies on the Unesco conventions which have already certain refunds as the seal of the dey of Algiers, stolen by the French colonial army in 1830 and was returned to Algeria in 2003. Contacted Ministry Culture says wait for the official restitution request. Negotiations are usually long.Museums often dragging their feet arguing that African museums are not the standards of conservation of works of art.
Today it is estimated that 90% of African art are outside the African continent.
This is a historic demand that Benin addressed to France on 27 July. The former colony in sub-Saharan Africa, independent since 1960, officially called to Paris restitution of cultural property acquired in the late nineteenth century, the time of colonization.
“This is the first time a former colony of Black Africa begins this approach,” says Louis-Georges Tin, president of the Representative Council of Black Associations in France (Cran), contacted by France 24. The Association s active since 2013 for the restitution of these “treasures looted ‘Benin.
This is about 5 000 rooms located in several private museums, but most of which now belongs to the collections of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris.
“The building blocks of these looted treasures visible to the Quai Branly, are anthropomorphic statues of the last kings of Abomey, a dynasty which ruled in Benin until the late nineteenth century in what was then called the Kingdom Dahomey, “explains Louis-Georges Trin.
Other objects of great heritage value, many “recades” (royal scepters), thrones, or sacred gates of the palace of Abomey. “These pieces were looted by General Dodds, the French military head troops, who conquered the country between 1892 and 1894, “says Louis-Georges Trin.
It is a question of identity and national pride. “The young Beninese have to admire these pieces home, they bear witness to their rich past, they have a role to play on the memorial map,” said Louis-Georges Tin, for which these objects have nothing to do with in a Paris museum. “It’s almost as if the fundamental works of French heritage were exhibited in Berlin,” he says.
Source: PAN TV