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Help stop the auction of Stolen 16th Century Benin Mask, which were looted from the palace of the Benin King, Nigeria by the British Expeditionary Force.
I appreciate that you are addressing the issue of stolen African artifacts. I have been bringing up this issue with American museums and galleries. The majority of items that they celebrate as art were originally obtained through theft and looting.
I find it extremely hypocritical that the art world is discussing how to return artwork that was stolen by the Nazi’s during WWII, but they don’t see the parallels with African items stolen from the continent by “explorers” and “collectors”.
The question that I ask educated people in the western art world is this: “What is the difference between art and artifacts?”. Art is created by artists. Artists have names. Usually there are no names associated with any of the African masks, carvings, baskets, or pottery that stereotypically get exhibited in American art galleries. Artifacts have cultural, historical, and educational value. That is why they should be in a natural history museum if they are to be exhibited anywhere. My goal is to see more contemporary African art celebrated and appreciated.
Being polite and nice won’t have an impact. There needs to be an African art revolution. I am proudly one of its soldiers.
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