Art
Masks from Mali's Dogon region on display at the Quai Museum in France. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Senegal Urges French Museums To Return Looted Art

This demand from the Senegalese government comes in lieu of the permanent restitution report commissioned by France's President Emmanuel Macron.

As the conversation around the restitution of stolen art and treasures from Africa continues, some action has taken place that has shaken up the museum world.

The Senegalese government has demanded that all of their art in French museums should be returned, as the country will soon open the new Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar, BBC reports.

This news comes in lieu of "The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics" report that was released last week by economist Felwine Sarr and art historian Bénédicte Savoy; commissioned by France's President Emmanuel Macron. You can download the full report in French and English here. The report highly urges that stolen African artifacts must be returned to their countries of origin permanently.


Abdou Latif Coulibaly, Senegal's culture minister, tells the BBC that they've already asked the French government to return more than 100 artifacts. He also welcomes the report as "every piece from Senegal is in France."

"We've read it and we consider it's a positive report," Coulibaly continues, "it's legitimate and follows the course of history."

Prior to this news, Macron as also called on 26 Benin bronze artifacts to be returned to their country of origin "without delay," based on a proposal from the Quai Museum and the French ministry of culture, Artnet News reports. He also asked French museums to establish African partners to begin organizing returns and the development of an online inventory of museums' African collections.

Benin Bronzes. Victoria & Albert Museum. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Among the artifacts that will be returned include three statues of the kings of Abomey, thrones, ornamental doors and a statue of the god Gou. Artnet adds that these items were stolen during General Dodd's bloody siege on the Béhanzin palace in 1892. There are plans for these artifacts to be made available to the public in Benin.

Prince Kum'a Ndumbe III, who represents the Duala people in Cameroon, tells The New York Times that such a commitment displayed in the report has been long overdue since French-speaking African countries gained independence from France in 1960.

"This is not just about the return of African art," he says. "When someone's stolen your soul, it's very difficult to survive as a people."

Last month, the Benin Dialogue Group has been in conversations with European museums about the repatriation of their stolen art, and plans to do so are continuing moving forward—starting with the British Museum, CNN adds. The caveat with these negotiations remain that this agreement would allow these museums to place these artifacts on loan to their country of origin.

"We are grateful these steps are being taken but we hope they are only the first steps," Crusoe Osagie, spokesman for the Governor of Edo State, says to CNN. "If you have stolen property, you have to give it back."


Art
Image courtesy of Trap Bob.

Trap Bob Is the 'Proud Habesha' Illustrator Creating Colorful Campaigns for the Digital Age

The DMV-based artist speaks with OkayAfrica about the themes in her work, collaborating with major brands, and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her work.

DMV-based visual artist Tenbeete Solomon also known as Trap Bob is a buzzing illustrator using her knack for colorful animation to convey both the "humor and struggle of everyday life."

The artist, who is also the Creative Director of the creative agency GIRLAAA has been the visual force behind several major online movements. Her works have appeared in campaigns for Giphy, Girls Who Code, Missy Elliott, Elizabeth Warren, Apple, Refinery 29 and Pabst Blue Ribbon (her design was one of the winners of the beer company's annual art can contest and is currently being displayed on millions of cans nationwide). With each striking illustration, the artist brings her skillful use of color and storytelling to the forefront.

Her catalog also includes fun, exuberant graphics that depict celebrities and important moments in Black popular culture. Her "Girls In Power" pays homage to iconic women of color in a range of industries with illustrated portraits. It includes festive portraits of Beyoncé, Oprah, Serena Williams and Michelle Obama to name a few.

Trap Bob is currently embarking on an art tour throughout December, which sees her unveiling murals and recent works for Pabst Blue Ribbon in her hometown of DC and during Art Basel in Miami. You can see her tour dates here.

We caught up with the illustrator via email, to learn more about the themes in her work and how her Ethiopian heritage informs her illustrations. Read it below and see more of Trap Bob's works underneath.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Left: Photo by Bennett Raglin/ NAACP LDF for Getty Images, Right: Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage

Lupita Nyong'o and Mati Diop Win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Lupita Nyong'o took home 'Best Lead Actress' for her role in 'Us' while Mati Diop's 'Atlantics' won 'Best First Film'.

Yesterday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced its full list of this year's winners. According to Deadline, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong'o took home the "Best Lead Actress" award for her phenomenal role in the Jordan Peele horror film Us while Senegalese-French filmmaker Mati Diop's Atlantics won in the "Best First Film" category.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Photo by Lana Haroun

From #FeesMustFall to #BlueforSudan: OkayAfrica's Guide to a Decade of African Hashtag Activism

The 2010s saw protest movements across the continent embrace social media in their quest to make change.

The Internet and its persistent, attention-seeking child, Social Media has changed the way we live, think and interact on a daily basis. But as this decade comes to a close, we want to highlight the ways in which people have merged digital technology, social media and ingenuity to fight for change using one of the world's newest and most potent devices—the hashtag.

What used to simply be the "pound sign," the beginning of a tic-tac-toe game or what you'd have to enter when interacting with an automated telephone service, the hashtag has become a vital aspect of the digital sphere operating with both form and function. What began in 2007 as a metadata tag used to categorize and group content on social media, the term 'hashtag' has now grown to refer to memes (#GeraraHere), movements (#AmINext), events (#InsertFriendsWeddingHere) and is often used in everyday conversation ("That situation was hashtag awkward").

The power of the hashtag in the mobility of people and ideas truly came to light during the #ArabSpring, which began one year into the new decade. As Tunisia kicked off a revolution against oppressive regimes that spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook played a crucial role in the development and progress of the movements. The hashtag, however, helped for activists, journalists and supporters of causes. It not only helped to source information quickly, but it also acted as a way to create a motto, a war cry, that could spread farther and faster than protestors own voices and faster than a broadcasted news cycle. As The Guardian wrote in 2016, "At times during 2011, the term Arab Spring became interchangeable with 'Twitter uprising' or 'Facebook revolution,' as global media tried to make sense of what was going on."

From there, the hashtag grew to be omnipresent in modern society. It has given us global news, as well as strong comedic relief and continues to play a crucial role in our lives. As the decade comes to a close, here are some of the most impactful hashtags from Africans and for Africans that used the medium well.

Keep reading... Show less
popular
Screenshot from the upcoming film Warriors of a Beautiful Game

In Conversation: Pelé's Daughter is Making a Documentary About Women's Soccer Around the World

In this exclusive interview, Kely Nascimento-DeLuca shares the story behind filming Warriors of a Beautiful Game in Tanzania, Brazil and other countries.

It may surprise you to know that women's soccer was illegal in Brazil until 1981. And in the UK until 1971. And in Germany until 1970. You may have read that Sudan made its first-ever women's league earlier this year. Whatever the case, women and soccer have always had a rocky relationship.

It wasn't what women wanted. It certainly wasn't what they needed. However, society had its own ideas and placed obstacle after obstacle in front of women to keep ladies from playing the game. Just this year the US national team has shown the world that women can be international champions in the sport and not get paid fairly compared to their male counterparts who lose.

Kely Nascimento-DeLuca is looking to change that. As the daughter of international soccer legend Pelé, she is no stranger to the game. Growing up surrounded by the sport, she was actually unaware of the experiences women around the world were having with it. It was only recently that she discovered the hardships around women in soccer and how much it mirrored women's rights more generally.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.