May 21, 2024
France should return much more looted African art, film-maker says

Mati Diop, the director of Dahomey, which charts the restitution of 26 objects to Benin, says the tiny number involved is ‘humiliating’

The first major return of looted treasures from Europe to Africa in the 21st century has left a lingering feeling of humiliation because of the lack of follow-up action, a French-Senegalese film-maker who accompanied a hoard of artefacts on their journey from Paris to their country of origin has said.

In her film Dahomey, which premiered at the Berlin film festival on Sunday, the director, Mati Diop, documents the 2021 journey of 26 treasures that the commander of French forces in Senegal looted from the royal palace of the kingdom of Dahomey, part of modern-day Benin, in 1890.

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