One of the most iconic artworks from the old Benin Kingdom (a 16th century ivory mask, pictured here) stolen during the British “Punitive Expedition” of 1897 has now been put up for sale by a private “collector” in London for almost to 5 million pounds. (The details are here).
I don’t know what is more disgusting, calling a stolen artwork a “collected” artwork or offering same for sale when the real owners have spent years advocating for its return. This particular art piece is only one of the many that have been in the possession of the British museum for decades. This one is peculiar for being in private hands of descendants of the British soldiers who looted Benin and made away with its treasures.
A Nigerian activist Kayode Ogundamisi is now calling for signatories to a petition to stop the sale, and get the iconic mask (forcibly taken away during the dark days of colonialism and exploitation in Nigeria) returned to the country, or something. Please find details of the appeal here and see how you can help.