Inaugurated on February 19, the exhibition « ART OF BENIN PAST AND PRESENT: FROM RESTITUTION TO REVELATION (ART DU BÉNIN D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI : DE LA RESTITUTION À LA RÉVÉLATION) » has attracted nearly 200,000 visitors. Given this media coverage and the notoriety of the event, which celebrates the return of the treasures of Dahomey, and in order to allow people to rediscover art, the Beninese government announced a reopening for 45 days from July 15, 2022.
In November 2021, after more than two years of negotiations, France had returned to Benin 26 works of the royal treasures of Abomey, looted in 1892 by French colonial troops.
These recovered works were the subject of the phenomenal exhibition « ART DU BÉNIN D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI : DE LA RESTITUTION À LA RÉVÉLATION » – (Art of Benin Yesterday and Today: From Restitution to Revelation) and at the same time highlighted the classical art of Benin and the contemporary art scene of Benin and its diaspora through a museum tour of more than 2,000 m2 at the Presidency of the Republic with a scenography that offers a marriage between historical heritage and contemporary art.
Over 40 days of exhibition, nearly 186,000 visitors, a normal of 4,600 visitors per day, and inaugurates the program of cultural, museum and international tourism building begun by Benin and which includes six museums under construction and two others in redevelopment.
The return of the treasures of Dahomey marks a significant step in an exceptional process that began with the promise made in 2017 by the French president to proceed with the restitution of African heritage.
Among these works previously kept at the Quai Branly, include statues of the ancient kingdom of Abomey.