Tuesday, June 1, 2021

WNYC's "The Takeaway" radio program on Restitution of African Art, June, 1, 2019

Today, June 1 at 9:40AM EST, WNYC's popular program, The Takeaway, guest-hosted by Melissa Harris-Perry for Tanzina Vega, featured a discussion on the restitution of African Art by European and American museums and collections. Here below is the information published on the program page and a link to the podcast. The other program guest, along with me, is Karen Attiah who is the Global Opinions Editor and award-winning journalist at Washington Post.

Undated photo put out by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, shows an illegally smuggled, artifact repatriated from the United Kingdom
( Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Associated Press )

 The murder of George Floyd — and last summer’s protests against systemic racism — reignited conversations about the racist and colonialist legacies of so many institutions across the globe, including museums. 

Now, some museums are making good on their promises to fight systemic racism in very tangible ways. This April, in a historic move, Germany announced it would return stolen African artifacts currently in its museums back to Nigeria including the priceless Benin Bronzes of the then-Kingdom of Benin. And in March, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland agreed to repatriate its Benin Bronze. France also indicated similar plans last year. 

Yet some museums — including the famed British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art — have not committed to doing the same, despite having sizable collections of looted objects like the Benin Bronzes. 

Karen Attiahglobal opinions editor at the Washington Post, and Chika Okeke-Agulu, professor at Princeton University in the Department of Art & Archaeology, joined The Takeaway to discuss the calls to repatriate stolen items to their origin countries.

Click here to listen to the radio program