The Art of Benin Essay

954 Words Aug 20th, 2010 4 Pages
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
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The main issue lies in the fact that these are key artefacts for Benin and hold a huge part of the culture and history, which for obvious reasons, make these Sculptures more than just an art piece for outsider people to look at. These all hold meaning to the people of Benin and Africa, yet they have been taken away.
Everybody sees art from a different perspective; it will signify something to one person that won’t necessarily be the same as the next person who observes it. However, the problem here is that to the Africans, these artefacts have more or less the same meaning and explanation to them all, symbolising the same things, and cultural events, changes, a description of their history almost. Which therefore really makes you feel where they belong is back in Africa, their true home with representing their true meaning. On the other hand, the debate lies in those who believe the artefacts can be represented in Western countries. Note they do not at any point say they are in the right place by being in the Western side but they do believe that their presence in national galleries throughout much of Europe is and will only be a positive thing for the Africans and the Europeans
This view is highlighted by the situation of which we find ourselves in today, for example, very prejudice, biased and unfounded opinions cause much conflict between races, cultures religions and countries and this is

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