Senegal demands return of looted arts from France
Following an opening by France, recommending that African treasures taken without permission be returned to their countries of origin, Senegal’s government has said it wants all of its art currently in French museums to be returned.
Last week an experts’ report, commissioned by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, recommended that African treasures taken without permission be returned to their countries of origin.
The move comes as the new Museum of Black Civilisations is about to open in Senegal’s capital, Dakar.
The site will offer nearly 40,000 sq ft of exhibition space.
Senegal’s Culture Minister Abdou Latif Coulibaly told the BBC he welcomed the French report as “every piece from Senegal is in France”.
“We’ve read it and we consider it’s a positive report – it’s legitimate and follows the course of history”.
The minister says they’ve already asked the French government for more than 100 artifacts.
Very few countries have put in formal requests for the return of their art, but this could quickly change.
The country with the highest number of art pieces in France is Chad.
For years Dakar has been aiming to position itself as a cultural capital in the region – and now with a president running for re-election, the government is attempting with this museum to make that happen.
The Museum of Black Civilisations was the idea of Senegal’s first President Leopold Sedar Senghor.
More than 50 years later, the project is coming to life, after a $20m (£16m) Chinese investment.