Category Archives: Africa

Law, Restitution and the Benin Bronzes

Posted on: December 23, 2018 by Alexander Herman

In 1897, British troops marched on Benin City, capital of the fabled West African kingdom of Benin, ruled over by a powerful Oba. The attack was called a ‘punitive expedition’ because it was a retaliatory response to the Oba having massacred a British delegation of eight officials, two traders and local escorts the previous month. […]

Cultural ‘Matrimony’ as a New Approach to Heritage Disputes

Posted on: November 29, 2018 by Sharon Hecker

The Benin Dialogue Group has recently announced plans to construct a new Royal Museum in Nigeria to display objects looted from the country that are now in European collections. This is an excellent example of what I call cultural ‘matrimony’, a new approach that can be used to resolve heritage disputes. This solution is in […]

French report calls for massive restitution of African artefacts

Posted on: November 28, 2018 by Alexander Herman

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron received the report he commissioned in March on the restitution of African artefacts currently held in French Museums. The commission followed the President’s speech in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, delivered one year ago today, in which he had called for “the conditions to be met within five years for the […]

Cultural property returns from 150-year-old British Maqdala expedition

Posted on: May 30, 2018 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

Last week, the Institute of Art & Law had the opportunity to attend an evening seminar discussion organised by The Anglo-Ethiopian Society and The Centre of African Studies at the campus of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). The topic of the evening centred on The Abyssinian Expedition (otherwise known as the ‘Maqdala Expedition’) which was a […]

Battles loom on the ivory front

Posted on: May 17, 2018 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

The controversy surrounding ivory and the restrictions imposed on its trade is certainly continuing to smoulder. As we reported a few weeks ago, the results of the UK Government’s consultation, and its proposals for a wide-ranging ban on ivory trade met with a mixed response. To add fuel to the fire, a dispute that has […]

Culture as a unifier: the Ethiopian manuscripts

Posted on: February 9, 2018 by Alexander Herman

The story begins 150 years ago. In 1868, deep in the deserts of east Africa, a British expedition led by General Robert Napier, was attacking the capital of the Abyssinian Empire, Maqdala, ruled over by King Tewodros. The British were looking to teach Tewodros a lesson for having imprisoned a number of British envoys and […]