A new museum is billed to open in 2021 known as the Royal Museum and I is expected to display strictly Benin Art. Yes, the Benin Bronzes taken during the Benin Expedition of 1897.

There has been a lot of controversial discussion going on recently about the Royal Museum that is to be opened in Nigeria in 2021. This museum is billed to show the bronze works that were taken during the European conquest of the Benin Kingdom in 1897. The art works will be there only temporarily as they will be loaned from several museums in Europe.

Artnet News reports that “[Nigeria’s] Royal Museum will house a rotating display of artifacts, including the Benin bronzes that were looted during the Benin Expedition of 1897.The agreement marks a significant step after years of negotiations among European institutions and Nigerian authorities.”

Benin Sculpture. Source: telegraph.co.uk

The agreement resulting in this decision was facilitated at the Benin Dialogue Group which is a culmination of representatives from Nigeria and museum officials from Europe. The meeting was held in the Netherlands earlier this month and it was agreed the art work will be on display for a period of 3 years. Specific details about what art work will be placed at the new museum are yet to be publicized.

Benin Bronze art. Source: thisisafrica.com

It is recorded that the British army looted about 4,000 sculptures during the expedition in 1897 from the Palace of the Oba of Benin. In a press release the Enogie of Evbobanosa , Prince Gregory Akenzua said, “I am happy we are making progress in the effort to give our people the opportunity to once more access our heritage that was looted.”

The Benin Dialogue Group have planned a meeting for 2019 in Benin to discuss further on the issue.


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