US News: Arts: Germany, with the agreement of Nigeria, exhibits the Benin Bronzes

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Les bronzes du Bénin exposés à Berlin, en Allemagne, avec l'accord du Nigeria. Berlin a planifié la restitution de ces œuvres à Abuja. © AP - Michael Sohn Les bronzes du Benin exhibited in Berlin, Germany, with the agreement of Nigeria. Berlin planned the restitution of these works in Abuja.

After long debates on works of art of colonial origin robbed in the past, Germany now wants to carry out important restitutions. The famous Benin bronzes have been presented in Berlin since Saturday, September 17, before their restitution in Nigeria. But some of these works will remain in the German capital in the form of a loan.

of our correspondent in Berlin, Pascal Thibaut

The Humboldt Forum, Museum in the heart of Berlin, is now in full. Almost two years after the opening of the 40,000m² building, the last collections of non -European works have been opened. The public in a hurry this weekend of September 17-18, to discover them.

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Two rooms shelter the Benin bronzes before their restitution in Nigeria . A declaration of intention was signed in early July between Berlin and Abuja. Museums in the German capital have signed a contract for this purpose, for more than 500 works they hold. A third of them will remain presented in Berlin. The president of the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage, Hermann Parzinger, is expressed:

"What we present in our collections is no longer our property, and it is a good thing. But it was the choice of Nigeria that these bronzes remain present here and that visitors could discover them.

Long discussions were needed to get there. Germany has not always been so cooperative. Exposing spoliated works at the end of the 19th century in a building copied from the Château de l'Empire, colonial power at the time, sparked many debates.

Visitors, many during this weekend, salute new exhibition spaces. One of them confides: "I find this attempt to bring together the art, science and history of formidable society, and it is fantastic in this building.

The Benin bronzes, which will remain in Berlin, are loaned for ten years by Nigeria. Beyond that, new negotiations will be necessary.

► To listen also: The Podcast "La Vie d'He" devoted to bronze art in Benin

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