Restoration of works of art looted in Africa: repatriation of the continent’s heritage through digital technology

A ceremonial mask in ivory from the 19th century in honor of Queen Idia, looted by British soldiers from the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, is on display in the exhibition

Image Credit, Getty Images

In our series of letters from African writers, Nigerian author Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani highlights a new initiative to reclaim works of art looted from Africa by colonial powers.

What if Africans managed to gain access to museums in the Western world, collect all the works of art that were looted on their territory during colonial times, and bring them home?

This is what a young Nigerian is trying to do. But instead of physically going into museums and taking the works of art away, he will repatriate them digitally.

“This is the first digital repatriation of stolen artwork,” said Chidi, 34, a Nigerian designer and founder of Looty, who declined to disclose his last name because he says he wants people to focus on his project and not on his person.

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