How, from now on, knowledge about the Boys Bronze will be “returned”.

On Wednesday, the Digital Benin platform was presented in Berlin, which gives access to interesting information about art from the Kingdom of Benin.

Samples of the so-called Bronze Boys at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.

Samples of the so-called Bronze Boys at the Humboldt Forum in Berlin.epd

In museums, which was associated with the term ethnology, which is now considered dubious, the history of the origin of the items in the collection has long been given less priority. And when the 1998 Washington Declaration was signed, research into looted art became more focused, the initially well-established focus of source research being on art confiscated or stolen by the Nazis. Only recently have institutions devoted themselves more intensely to art from colonial contexts, particularly with regard to its often controversial history of acquisition.

More than 5,000 objects have been developed

In this way, the platform is now presented in Berlin digital boys To be seen as a great leap in development. The project, which began in Hamburg in 2020 at the Am Rothenbaum Museum for World Cultures and Arts (MARKK), set the task of documenting art treasures from the Kingdom of Benin stolen in the late 19th century on a digital platform and making them accessible to the general public. Funded by the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation, the fourteen-person project team, with support from academic advice from Nigeria, Kenya and the USA, is working to contact groups around the world and collect object data. The result was presented in Berlin on Wednesday: 131 museums and institutions from 20 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Israel, as well as 14 European countries, participated in documenting more than 5,240 objects.

Barbara Blankensteiner, Museum Director of Am Rothenbaum and Project Director of the Hamburg team, assumes that approximately 99 percent of the world’s artifacts from the Kingdom of Benin are represented in the database. If the annoyance with reporting art from Benin was that the same bronze pieces were always on display, the platform is now able to overpower its wealth of imagery. More than 12,000 images provide clear information about objects, some of which can be seen from all sides in 3D models. More important than the visual extravagance, however, is the disclosure of existing knowledge about works from Benin, most of which found its way into the art trade through theft as a result of the so-called punitive expedition by the British in 1897. In parallel with the discussion about restitutions, it can also be Considering the platform as an important building block for re-knowledge. On Wednesday in Berlin, Osaisonor Godfrey Echator-Obuji, Head of Research from Benin City, expressed deep affection for the cultural, historical and emotional significance of the facts and data now collected for his people.

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