France weighs how to return Africa’s plundered artBreaking News
tags: France, Africa, colonialism
Half-man, half-beast, the tall African statues dominate a busy gallery in Paris’ Quai Branly museum. But few of the visitors are aware they are looking at what might be considered stolen goods.
The three imposing wooden carvings were plundered by French troops in 1892 from the kingdom of Dahomey — modern-day Benin.
“I came here to learn about how these objects were intended to be used, more than how they were brought here,” said Michael Fanning, a student from New Orleans, peering up at the statues.
“But it does make me think we should give them back to whoever made them.”
From London to Berlin, Europe’s museums are packed with hundreds of thousands of colonial-era items. Increasingly, they are facing the awkward question of whether they should be there at all.
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