VIDEO. The 26 works of the treasures of Abomey returned by France to Benin represent solely “the tip of the iceberg” and foreshadow different restitutions, in accordance with the Franco-Beninese professional Marie-Cécile Zinsou.
“Everyone seems to be asking questions on [la manière] to have a fairer international heritage. ” After the restitution by France of the 26 royal treasures of Abomey and their return to Benin, Marie-Cécile Zinsou, artwork historian and president of the Zinsou Basis, is satisfied: this occasion bears witness to a ” change of period And marks the beginning of main renditions everywhere in the world.
These would meet the expectations of many international locations, as not too long ago illustrated by the vehement protests of Mexico on the event of an public sale of pre-Columbian objects at Christie’s in Paris.
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The return to Benin of those gems of artwork was not with out issue, first recollects Marie-Cécile Zinsou. We needed to negotiate within the face of the cruel legislation of the inalienability of French collections.
Within the case of Africa, these restitutions are notably essential because the majority of its heritage is discovered outdoors the continent. The thought, for Marie-Cécile Zinsou, just isn’t, nonetheless, to “To query historical past, however to ask the query of this heritage at present”.
In line with the specialist, it was Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Ouagadougou in 2017 that allowed this dialogue to be launched. Confronted with Burkinabé college students, the president provides himself 5 years to return works of African heritage preserved in France, an occasion that she calls ” spark ».
Since Emmanuel Macron’s speech in Ouagadougou, many northern international locations have made progress on the difficulty of restitution of African works, explains Marie-Cécile Zinsou.
To not point out the latest choice of the American Smithsonian to think about returning the works to Nigeria. “These 26 works are simply the tip of the iceberg”, summarizes the historian. This nice motion of restitution ought to permit international locations nonetheless reluctant to place themselves.
These restitutions are additionally accompanied by an unprecedented collaboration between Western museums and the international locations of origin of the works, to create new exhibitions or to develop museums in lots of African international locations. But additionally to encourage a brand new reflex amongst curators: that of questioning themselves from an moral perspective on the provenance of artistic endeavors.