Deputies passed the bill on the return of works of art in Benin and Senegal. But will there be other projects of this type in the coming months? Six countries on the continent have so far made requests.
The government can rub hands. The text was not only voted on by deputies, it was adopted almost unanimously after 2 hours of peaceful debate. Almost everyone praised the initiative. Senators, in turn, were to follow suit in early November. The Director wants this text to be finally adopted before the end of the year.
10000 pieces requested by Chad
France then has a year to deliver the 26 works from the Béhanzin tax to Cotonou, where the so-called El Hadj Omar Tall sword has already been delivered to Senegal in the form of a loan. These refunds are a first step we repeat all the time within the majority, what about the rest of the process?
Six countries on the continent have been making requests for a year and a half: Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali are claiming more items. Chad asked to collect 10,000 coins. Ethiopia has built 3,000 exhibitions at Quai Branly in February 2019. These requests are currently under investigation. There is a lot of investigative work to be done. And it will take some time, especially for countries like Chad that have asked to reclaim a large number of objects.
Discussions seem to be more advanced with Madagascar on the return of the crown by Queen Ranavalona III. Antananarivo wants to restore the object to Independence Day on June 26. Paris originally proposed a loan deal, as it was done in 2019 for Senegal with the so-called El Hadj Omar Tall Sword, but the Malagasy authorities have requested an immediate transfer of ownership. It will therefore be necessary to review a particular law, a law that is not implemented immediately.
Since 1960, African states have requested the return of pieces of their heritage that were looted during colonization. And this is the first time this has been made possible.
Marie-Cécile Zinsou, art historian: “It is really very important as a law because it is a first”
►Listen too: Interview – Restoration of African heritage: where are we?