VIDEO. For the first time, France returns works of art to one of its former African colonies


It’s historic: for the first time, France is returning works of art to one of its former African colonies, Benin. Even today, nearly 90% of African heritage is thought to be outside the African continent …

It is a historic day: it is the first time that France has returned works of art to one of its former African colonies. Benin has just recovered 26 works that belonged to the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum. It is estimated that nearly 90% of African heritage is today outside the African continent. And at least 90,000 African works of art are listed in French museums, including 70,000 just for the Quai Branly Museum, which specializes in primitive arts. During colonization, many works were acquired, often at the cost of theft, looting, military expeditions.

In 2016, Benin was the first African country to officially claim its works of art from France. The following year, Emmanuel Macron therefore committed to restitution. “I cannot accept that a large part of the cultural heritage of several African countries is in France“, he declared in particular. Since then, several African states have also asked for the restitution of works of art acquired by France during colonization. This is the case of Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

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