Popular
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 22: Plaques that form part of the Benin Bronzes are displayed at The British Museum on November 22, 2018 in London, England. The British Museum has agreed to loan the plaques back to a new museum in Benin City in Nigeria. The Benin Bronzes were taken from Africa by British troops in 1897.

London's Horniman Museum May Return Nigeria's Looted Benin Bronzes

The Horniman Museum in London is considering repatriating a number of Benin Bronze artefacts which were stolen from the Benin Kingdom during the colonial era.

London's Horniman Museum is reportedly considering the repatriation of a number of Benin Bronze artefacts to the Nigerian government. The museum's collection currently houses a number of plaques, figures as well as a ceremonial paddle which were all looted during the colonial era from the Kingdom of Benin (now southern Nigeria) in 1897. The recent move comes amid continued pressure from various African governments and activist groups for colonial institutions to return to African countries the millions of cultural and religious artefacts that were looted during colonisation.


READ: Taking Back Our History: Understanding African Art Repatriation

According to the BBC, the Horniman's collection comprises 15 plaques depicting kings, a brass cockerel referred to as an Ebon and a ceremonial paddle referred to as an Ovbevbe which was historically used by religious leaders to ward off evil. Additionally, the collection also includes a brass bell often associated with Benin warriors as well as a staff of office made from ivory.

In a statement released recently by the museum, they write:

"We recognise that the collections in the Horniman have been acquired at different times and under a range of circumstances, some of which would not be appropriate today, such as through force or other forms of duress. Occasions will arise when it will be appropriate to enter into discussions with stakeholders about the potential restitution or repatriation of cultural objects and human remains which are in its collection and were acquired by force or other forms of duress, by theft, or were communal property which was acquired from a person not authorised to give it."

The Nigerian government, the Benin Dialogue Group and the Topple the Racists campaign group have collectively and consistently applied pressure to various European institutions to return to Nigeria several artefacts which have previously been linked to colonialism.

The chief executive of Horniman Museum, Nick Merriman, offered further clarity on the matter by saying that the museum has received no claims as yet for the repatriation of any objects and as such, no final decision has been made with regards to the returning of particular artefacts housed within the museum.

Music

Listen to a Fela Kuti Tribute Album Featuring D'Angelo, Questlove, Nile Rodgers​ & More

2002's Red Hot + Riot albumis available on streaming platforms for the first time.

Red Hot has made the their Fela Kutitribute album Red Hot + Riot available for the first time on all streaming platforms to mark its 20th anniversary.

Red Hot + Riot features notable contributions from an all-star guest ensemble that includes D’Angelo, Questlove, Femi Kuti, Talib Kweli, Sade, Tony Allen, Macy Gray, Nile Rodgers, Jorge Ben Jor, Baba Maal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead Prez, Kelis, Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp, and many others.

The updated 20th anniversary version includes bonus material including a remastered version of the entire project. The project also includes a cover of “Sorrow Tears & Blood” by Bilal, an acoustic version of “Trouble Sleep” with Baba Maal accompanied by the legendary kora player Kaouding Cissoko and an extended version of Sade’s “By Your Side” by Stuart Matthewman.

The original album had to be heavily edited to fit the time limit of a physical CD. This new version includes a vast amount of bonus material that includes an extended versions of many tracks, including early mixes, acapellas, instrumentals and more.

Keep reading...Show less
Arts + Culture
Photo: Courtesy Wangechi Mutu and Vielmetter Los Angeles, taken by Robert Edemeyer

A Massive Exhibition of Wangechi Mutu's Work Is Heading to the New Museum

A specially-commissioned art piece from the Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist will be part of the major overview of her work.

In what is set to be one of the largest showings of the artist's work, the New Museum in New York will present “Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined,” from March 2 – June 4, 2023. The art works will cover the entire museum, occupying the three main floors, including the lobby, and the building’s glass façade, where a new piece that's been commissioned will be displayed.

Earlier this year, eight of Mutu’s sculptures were installed at the Storm King Art Center in upstate New York, showcasing her current practice in earth and bronze material.

Mutu’s upcoming New Museum exhibition is curated by Vivian Crockett, Margot Norton, Allen and Lola Goldring and Ian Wallace. According to the curators, “Intertwined” will chronicle Mutu’s recent sculptural development, and connect it to her long standing expression and exploration of the legacies of colonialism, globalization, in African and diasporic cultural traditions.

The upcoming exhibition will highlight some of Mutu’s earlier art, as well as her most recent artistic outputs, which are primarily made from Nairobi-sourced wood, soil and bronze.

“Intertwined” will give art lovers the opportunity to see and appreciate the thematic progression of Mutu’s work, and get a sense of how New York-based art institutions have influenced the scope of her artistry over time.

Different floors at the museum will carry various parts of Mutu’s multi-dimensional work. The second floor, for example, will draw connections between the artist’s collage-based practice and her work in sculpture, including 'Yo Mama' (2003), originally commissioned by the New Museum in 2003 for the exhibition “Black President: The Art and Legacy of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.”

This exhibition on the second floor will also underscore some of her more recent work, which experiments with collages in corporeal, mechanical, and botanical forms. The third floor will continue to explore the fluidity of Mutu’s work and how her pieces have evolved over time.

The fourth floor will tie a collection of Mutu’s collages from the 'Subterranea' series (2021–22) with her most recent large scale bronze art.

In a statement, Crockett said Mutu’s work has wrestled with themes and complex artistic principles that make it even more important for the future of art as a whole. “Mutu’s work has long been characterized by a sense of permeable boundaries and hybridity, invested in the complex encounters of bodies, sites, and structures. Her work grapples with contemporary realities and proffers new models for a radically changed future informed by feminism, Afrofuturism, and interspecies symbiosis,” said Crockett.

Featured
Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Travel Diary: The Warmth & Beauty of Senegal is Unparalleled

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, Nigerian photographer and storyteller Sope Adelaja heads to Senegal to learn what it's like to embrace the "Teraanga" lifestyle.

After about 10 hours of flying and stopovers I landed in the city of Dakar, Senegal at about 11pm. I approached immigration to have my passport stamped and then proceeded to get my luggage. I immediately noticed that almost everyone spoke French and very few people understood English. I understand little French, so I knew then that it was going to be a struggle. With the help of Google Translate, I was able to then negotiate and hire a cab to drop me off at my residence for the night.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

The language barrier was not as much of as an obstacle as I thought it would be. This largely had to do with the generosity and warmness shown by the community during my visit.

Senegal is known as the “ Land of Teraanga." Teraanga, which is a Wolof word, is often defined as meaning “ hospitality." But that is a very loose way of translating it. It's so much more complex than that. It is a process of discovery and expression. It is a way of Life. Teraanga is aimed at showcasing a narrative of hospitality and beauty that exists across different cultures.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Unity over adversity is a running theme of Saint-Louis, a town located on an island at the mouth of the Senegal river. It is an outstanding example of a colonial city by its natural setting and colonial architecture which gives it a distinctive appearance and identity. (These features are why the island is on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.)

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Saint-Louis is a city that will charm you. Beyond tourism, this community has come to embody its resourceful spirits. A big part of the way of life is fishing. It is the main occupation of people living in Saint-Louis, also known to the locals as Ndar.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

When shooting in Africa, it’s easy to lean on visual crutches — like ornate jewelry or bright, striking clothing. But that’s only skimming the visual surface of the community of people. Digging deeper requires an extended stay, as well as collaborating with locals who have grown up in the area.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

In the course of digging deeper, i discovered Ndar had a lot more to offer beyond beautiful aesthetics, very rich culture, and history it holds strong remains of past colonial times.

Next up was Gorée Island and the destination is an exceptional testimony to one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity: slave trade. Even with its complicated history, Over the years, Gorée Island has become a well known destination, with figures like Nelson Mandela and even Unisted States President Barack Obama and his family visiting the island.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Storytelling is so powerful. And as a photographer, it's my intent to show the warmth, beauty, and hospitality of Africa across different regions. I strongly believe we as people of Africa have a responsibility to further shape the narrative of Africa’s unique culture and people.

See more photos from Senegal below.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja


Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Music
Photo via Mavin Records

The 9 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Mavin Records, Asake, Stormzy x Amaarae x Black Sherif, Fally Ipupa, Pheelz x French Montana, and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

Keep reading...Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

Listen to Baaba Maal's New Single "Yerimayo Celebration"

The Senegalese legend announces his new upcoming album, Being.

Morocco Advance to the Round Of 16 in the World Cup

Morocco join Senegal as the second African country make the knockout stages at Qatar 2022.

Burna Boy Tops 2022 African Streams on Both Spotify & Apple Music

The Nigerian star dominated African streaming lists across both platforms.

M.anifest Returns With Innovative New Project 'THE E.P.ILOGUE’

The Ghanaian rapper's new six-track EP features Anik Khan, M.I Abaga, WavyPae, Alee, and writer Nayyirah Waheed.

popular.

Abby Ajayi’s 'Riches' Packs in the Glitz Along with the Drama

The Prime Video series, which stars Deborah Ayorinde from 'Them' and Emmy-nominated 'Ted Lasso' actress Sarah Niles, promises to be another unmissable show from the writer of 'How To Get Away with Murder' and 'Inventing Anna.'