Why is the ownership of Benin Art so controversial?
The ownership of Benin Art could have been so controversial for a number of reasons. Most notably I would say, is due to the Anthropologists seeing it as a cultural insight into the history of Benin however when people were introduced to start looking at the artefacts from also a more artistic approach, this, for the anthropologists was taking the cultural effect away from it. Some people may have felt hostile to how these artefacts were obtained from Benin to start with. We are informed that they were forcibly removed from their origin by the Westerners and therefore, the natives, especially, felt that this was and is where they belonged and not in a European Gallery. Some see it as taking the sculptures out of their original location removes the meaning behind them, whereas if they were to remain in the original location, the sculptures would be more understood and also compliment the meaning of them originally. There was an obvious sense that because these artefacts belonged to the Africans, they weren’t just simple pieces of art, they also symbolised an area of history for them, hence the attitude they took as to, why should these now be in the possession of the Westerners? It almost replicates the feeling from history of when Benin was to be invaded by the Western society. That was a clear show of superiority in cultures or even countries if you like, and this thought is reiterated almost, by the fact that the Westerners have again taken what is not there’s and are using it for their benefit as well as the public. These artefacts were obtained under negative circumstances for Africa, when they were under fret and were not given willingly and that they were being used as another way for the British, French etc to make money from. Some Africans also see it as the Westerners contradicting themselves as they try to express that the colonialism is no longer and that it is now more equal but for those...
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