Restitution: Africa’s Stolen Art – Repatriation
The growth of local African museums and the struggle for reparations in the context of the global art market.
The struggle for the repatriation of Africa’s artworks lost momentum in the late 20th century, as the IMF and World Bank held more sway across the continent than UNESCO.
European museums closed ranks and ignored restitution requests, worried more about the effect on the art market than restoring items to their rightful homes.
By the 2020s some progress has been made. Germany expedited the return of its Benin Bronzes and France has repatriated some pieces to Benin and Senegal.
But there is still a painfully long way to go before European and American museums agree to return the tens of thousands of their plundered African artefacts.
This is episode 3 of a three-part series. Watch episode 1 here and episode 2 here.