The Edo Provenance Project maps the journey of 100 artifacts looted from the sacking of Benin City by the British in the 1897 punitive expedition and currently on display in various European and American Museums. The Benin bronzes have recently become a contested topic with some institutions planning to repatriate artifacts as soon as 2022. This project aims to organize data surrounding the looted items in an accessible manner that facilitates research and enables activists and academics to gain new insights and organize around the cause of returning stolen artifacts to their rightful place in Benin and other countries.
Moreover, personally I find that political activism surrounding cultural heritage is an important aspect of the struggle against imperialism that is too often ignored. Indigenous narratives are often centered around tragic events or idealized pre-colonial pasts, while important these fail to offer an alternative to daily life within current systems, thereby limiting our “revolutionary imagination”. Exploring colonization through looted cultural heritage therefore holds a special promise, unlike the legal or political arenas, reclaiming lost artifacts threatens to undermine the cultural hegemony we are subjected to since birth, enabling us to conceive of both alternative presents and possible futures.