France debuted this Wednesday Return of 26 works from the royal treasury of Abomi to Benin At the ceremony held at the head Emmanuel Macron, The first European leader to reclaim a portion of a heritage plundered in colonial times in Africa.
“France cannot be inactive because 95% of the African tradition is outside its borders. There is no reason why Benin youth should not approach their heritage“Macron said at the code entry ceremony at the French Museum of Ethnology in Guayaquil de Brainley.
This event came from Benin Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aurelian Akpenonci, On behalf of the President of that country, Patrice Dalone, Will meet Macron in France this November and sign the property transfer.
“The works of art that the people affected by this robbery could not compensate for have not been removed. Removed a memory to help them get to know themselves better, Should be well understood. The women and men of this country have a right to get them back. ” Macron.
“Benin is delighted to be making history with France, which wanted to accept the restructuring request signed in our office in August 2016. There were plenty of obstacles, and we could not have imagined this moment,” Agbenonci said.
Among the returned works are three statues representing ancient leaders Kingdom of Tahomi, Located in the current city of Abomi and known for its army of female soldiers, is today one of the tourist destinations in the African country and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.
There are also royal thrones in 26 pieces, all of which were looted by the general’s men. Alfred-Amédée Dodds, Who then made the French, through which it led to cheating King Behansin They went to meet the president in Paris and forced him to be deported to Martinique.
The story of deception and domination, was completely banned until a few years ago. The repair work will not only affect this work: France will also change the tone in which it tells history.
From Quai de Brainly they now urge King Behansin to talk about the “trap” and to put ancient African and Western customs on the same level, describing the so-called sacrifices as “public execution”.
In Paris, these 26 works are on display at the Ethnological Museum for the last time this week, which has been at the center of a global controversy over the restoration of works of art to Africa, a thorny issue that continues to divide European museums.
In France alone, it is estimated to exist 90,000 objects of African art70,000 of them are in Kwai de Branley, and more than half were acquired during the colonial period.
Macron was engaged on a trip in 2017 Burkina Faso, Said the deity within five years.
A year later, a report by a French researcher and Senegalese professor and writer called for the withdrawal of pieces obtained by theft or violence and established a legal framework to approve their return.
Echo of the world
The law that led to a French law regulating the publication of these works in 2020 and that document were closely followed in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium, which also contain African works obtained illegally.
France thus launches a movement that resonates in Brussels, which has promised to return this year. Democratic Republic of the Congo About 880 works stolen during the colonial period are on display at the famous Museum of Central Africa in Tervuran, 12 kilometers from the capital, and the origins of others will be explored in the coming years. 35,000 pieces.
Germany has shown a willingness to return this year as well Nigeria A series of bronzes stolen in the 19th century.
On the repaired side, Benin adopted a law in October that guarantees the preservation of its cultural heritage and builds infrastructure and equipment in line with international standards.
“We are going to continue the documentation work with our French colleagues. These are the works that General Dots took without documenting. It is a work in progress. Superintendent of the Ouidah Historical Museum, Calixte Biah.
It will be the museum where the pieces will be displayed before it is permanently installed in the future museum of the epic of the Amazon and the Tahomi kings.
According to the curator, the return of these works to Benin is a historic moment and adds pride to the Beninians.
This Wednesday, Macron recalled that the country had approved the return of a valuable ship Senegal, As well as other pieces that will soon be sent temporarily or permanently Madagascar And Ivory Coast.