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US News: works of art returned to Benin: why the movement could grow

France makes 26 works looted in Benin

 France makes 26 works looted in Benin © Copyright 2021, the Obs France has solemnly returned this Tuesday, November 9 to Benin 26 works of the royal treasures of Abomey looted in the nineteenth century by the colonial troops, a "Historic moment of national pride" for the Beninese authorities.

  Œuvres d’art restituées au Bénin : pourquoi le mouvement pourrait s’amplifier © Copyright 2021, Obs

"Everyone is asking questions about [the way] to have a world heritage more just. After the refund by France of the 26 royal treasures of Abomey and their return to Benin, Marie-Cécile Zinsou, a historian of the art and president of the Zinsou Foundation, is convinced of it: this event testifies to a " Change of era "and marks the beginning of large refunds around the world. It would meet the expectations of many countries, as recently illustrated

the vehements of Mexico

's protests on the occasion of a pre-Columbian object auction at Christie's in Paris.

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"The spark of Ouagadougou" The return to Benin of these jewels of art did not happen without harm, first recalls Marie-Cécile Zinsou. It was necessary to negotiate against the harsh law of the inalienability of French collections.

Paris Photo 2021: The most beautiful abandoned places around the world

 Paris Photo 2021: The most beautiful abandoned places around the world 1/7 Slides © Gallery RX, Slag Gallery and the Artist Naomi Safran-Hon Naomi Safran-Hon, Growing Inside, 2020, RX. 2/7 Slides © Fernando La Rosa Courtesy Toluca Fine Art. Fernando La Rosa, Ventana XXVII. La Perla, Callao, Perú, 1976, Courtesy Toluca Fine Art. 3/7 Slides © Franziska Klose Franziska Klose, Franziska Klose: Detroit, Spector Books. 4/7 Slides © Ishiuchi Miyako Ishiuchi Miyako, Apartment # 1, 1979, Ibasho.

"Stories of restitution are also old as humanity. From the moment there were wars and looting, there were requests for restitution.

In the case of Africa, these refunds are particularly important since the majority of its heritage is outside the continent. The idea for Marie-Cécile Zinsou, however, is not to "call into question the story, but to ask the question of this heritage today".

According to the specialist, it is the speech of Emmanuel Macron in Ouagadougou in 2017 which launched this discussion. Faced with Burkinabe students, the president gives himself five years to return works of African heritage held in France, an event she qualifies "spark".

A global approach

Since the speech by Emmanuel Macron in Ouagadougou, many Northern countries have advanced on the issue of African policing, explains Marie-Cécile Zinsou.

Burkina Faso: Civil society expresses its ras-le-bowl on the safe position

 Burkina Faso: Civil society expresses its ras-le-bowl on the safe position © AFP - Olympia de Maismont on July 3, 2021 A walk had already been held in Ouagadougou to protest against the insecurity generated by the presence Jihadiste in Burkina Faso (image of illustration). a few days after the opposition leader who threatened to call the people to demonstrate to request the resignation of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré if the safe situation was not improving, it's a turn of a Hundred civil society organizations to have a call for civil disobedience.

"There are discussions between Nigeria and Germany, Cameroon and Germany, between Congo and Belgium, between ivory, Mali, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Chad and the France.

Not to mention the recent US Smithsonian decision to reflect on a return of works in Nigeria. "These 26 works are just the emerging part of iceberg," summarizes the historian. This great movement of refunds should allow countries still reluctant to position themselves.

Restitution of works in Benin: "We must think more broadly on our report of former colonizing"

These refunds are also accompanied by unpublished collaboration between the Western museums and the countries of origin of the works, to create new exhibitions or to develop museums in many African states. But also encourage a new reflex in the Conservatives: to question an ethical point of view on the origin of works of art.

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