The Month in African Art News – June

Museum of Fine Arts Boston

I did promise you long periods of neglect, so I think that three months between posts is sufficient. In retrospect, launching a new blog while preparing for my first year review wasn’t the best idea. However, you can dry your eyes now. In addition to cobbling together proper bloggy material, I’m stealing a page from Donna Yates’s book and beginning a monthly news roundup of everything I’ve seen on African art and cultural heritage in the previous four weeks. Due to the focus of my research, it will mostly be West African in nature, pertain to “traditional” arts or cultural heritage (as opposed to including contemporary art), involve museums and exhibitions, seek out issues regarding theft/looting/illicit export, and definitely include student-centric opportunities when I come across them.

If you’ve seen anything I’ve missed, do let me know!

General News

2 June
– ‘Africa Beyond Africa: The Future of Cultural, Social and Scientific Research’ International Conference

7 June
Museums: Rotting Away Across the States (Nigeria)

8 June
UK Culture Community Celebrates Nigeria at 100

12 June
Nkishi Power Figure from Liberia Brings Record Price at Kaminski Auctions

14 June
Ugandan king battles Oxford museum over lost throne

16 June
Burkina Faso: New facts reveal the contribution of culture to development
 Nigeria pays over $1m to 37 antiquities vendors (Most articles I’ve seen on this all look like this, with no explanation whatsoever for WHY. Details covered on 20 June.)

18 June
Step Inside the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s New and Improved African Art Galleries

19 June
On Becoming a National Museum – 50th Anniversary of the National Museum of African Art (cool photos!)

20 June
Why Trafficking of Antiquities Will Continue (more on the payment scheme to Nigeria’s antiquities dealers.)

23 June
Behind-the-scnes tour shows visitors the Appleton Museum they don’t usually see (including the museum’s collection of African art)

24 June
News Items Added to African Art Collection at UT Arlington

29 June
UNESCO: Reconstruction of 2 World Heritage Mausoleums in Timbuktu Completed

Nigeria Repatriations (+ drama)

This month was a mixed bag for Nigeria. On the exciting end of the spectrum, ten looted objects were repatriated: two Benin bronze figures from the British descendent of an 1897 Punitive Expedition soldier, and eight illegally exported artefacts from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. On the awkward end of the spectrum, the relationship between the Oba of Benin and the National Commission for Monuments and Museums (NCMM) appears to have deteriorated following an argument over the location of the repatriation ceremony of the two Benin bronze figures.

5 June
– Nigeria: Benin Monarch, NCMM Disagree Over Reception for Returning Antiquities

19 June
National Museum can’t receive recovered artefacts

21 June
Briton returns looted Benin artefacts after 177 years (Nope, it’s only been 117)

22 June
‘Looted’ Nigerian art returned to traditional ruler

23 June
Oba of Benin Elated over Return of Two Bronze Works

26 June
The Boston MFA Returns 8 Looted Antiquites to Nigeria
Museum of Fine Arts returns artefacts to Nigeria

Events and Exhibitions

June 28 – October 5: “African Masters – Arts from the Ivory Coast” in Bonn, Germany.


The Baltimore Museum of Art is taking a survey on what you care about when you’re look at African art. The museum is currently renovating their African galleries, which will be open again in April 2015.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Comments are closed.