It Is Now Time for the West to Return African Art

BY: Franthiesco Ballerini

Ancient art's soft power brings tourism, diplomacy and shapes civilizations' values via researched artifacts, admired by many.

Africa's ancient artifacts admired globally, but its art is stolen, leaving African museums with limited soft power.

Stolen ancient African art is being repatriated back home, over 5,300 artifacts returned to Cairo since 2021.

Horniman Museum returned looted Benin artifacts, pressuring British Museum to return over 900 objects, citing legal restrictions.

Germany will return 1,100 artifacts to Nigeria and a female figure to Cameroon, provoking a civic initiative in Berlin.

National laws may not prevent returning artifacts. Tourists reject museums profiting from others' art. Retention may reduce attraction.

Over half a million African artifacts are in Europe, Belgium reviews Congo acquisitions. Demands faded in the 1980s.

Resistance to returning ancient art to Africa may harm European museums, as restitution can improve relations with African countries.