Why Western museums should return African artifacts

Culture

A large number of artifacts held in Western museums and libraries are known to have been appropriated over the ages through conquest and colonialism. The looting of African objects anthropologists, curators and private collectors took place in war as well as in peaceful times. It was justified as an act of benevolence; as saving dying knowledge.

Some museums have started to try and acknowledge that their collections have uncomfortable histories tied to colonial violence. Nevertheless, Britain’s long-standing policy is not to cease ownership over its looted treasures. As then-Prime Minister David Cameron said of Greece’s Elgin Marbles and India’s Koh-i-Noor diamond: “No, I certainly don’t believe in “returnism”, as it were. I don’t think that is sensible.” Continue reading …

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