News of Resistance

News of Resistance

Some of the themes introduced by the works and artefacts in our exhibition are more current than ever. Browse through!

Residential schools designate the extensive system set up by the Canadian government as an attempt to assimilate Indigenous children into mainstream white Canadian society. The schools were mostly operated by Christian churches from the 1880s to the 1990s. During this time, besides the undermining of Indigenous cultures, many children also perished due to disease outbreaks, malnourishment and abuse at the hands of staff. The discovery of unmarked graves on the grounds of residential schools has re-sparked the debate about the acknowledgement for responsibility in the system as well as its implications to the affected peoples.

In the exhibition, the works of Tania Wilard and Lawrence Paul Yuxwelptun deal with the colonial history of Canada and the country’s indigenous peoples

Current News Articles on the Residential Schools accordion-plus accordion-minus
Discovery of unmarked graves chosen as The Canadian Press news story of 2021. Global News. (14.12.2021)
Canadian residential schools: A timeline of apologies. CTV News. (9.12.2021)
‘There are bodies here’: survivors braced as search begins at Canada’s oldest residential school. The Guardian. (10.11.2021)
Indigenous Children Are Still Dying in Boarding Schools. Scientific American. (09.11.2021)
Search for unmarked graves begins at Sask. residential school. CTV National News. (08.11.2021)
Remembrance Day: Flag-raising discussions in Canada pose questions about residential schools and what we remembe. The Conversation. (5.11.2021)
Ontario coroner reviews cases of unidentified human remains for links to residential schools. Global News. (19.10.2021)
‘Cultural genocide’: mapping the shameful history of Canada’s residential schools. The Guardian. (06.09.2021)
Canadian government commits $321 million to support survivors of residential schools. CBS News. (10.08.2021)
‘Old wounds’: Renewed interest over residential schools difficult for survivors. Toronto Star. (15.07.2021)
How Canada forgot about more than 1,308 graves at former residential schools. National Post. (13.07.2021)
More unmarked graves discovered in British Columbia at a former indigenous residential school known as 'Canada's Alcatraz'. CNN. (13.07.2021)
First Nation to release findings on discovery of remains at site of former residential school. CBC. (11.07.2021)
The History of Canada’s Residential Schools. First Things Journal. (10.07.2021)
Canada’s Grim Legacy of Cultural Erasure, in Poignant School Photos. The New York Times. (05.07.2021)
'No longer able to hide' from the truth: Canada's residential school reckoning prompts U.S. investigation. National Post. (27.06.2021)
Hundreds More Unmarked Graves Found at Former Residential School in Canada. The New York Times. (24.06.2021)
Books about Indian Residential Schools in Canada: Nonfiction and Fiction. Book Riot. (18.06.2021)
Ontario pledging $10M to identify and commemorate residential school burial sites. CBC. (15.06.2021)
He was just a child’: dead of Indigenous residential schools haunt Canada. The Guardian. (05.06.2021)
Canada-wide search urged as children's remains found. BBC. (01.06.2021)

The Benin Bronzes are a group of sculptures and metal plaques from the ancient Kingdom of Benin – today’s Edo State in Nigeria. They were produced from the 15th Century ownwards, looted by British soldiers in 1897 and sold to museums across Europe and North America. The largest collection is held by the British Museum, whereas Germany has over 1,000 items spread across museum collections in Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Cologne. Efforts have been made in Nigeria to try to organize a return of the Bronzes for decades, however, only in the last years momemtum was built for actual negotiations and restitution pleas from European institutions and governments.

Here you can find more information on the collection of Benin Bronzes currently owned by the RJM.

The It’s Yours! room curated by Peju Layiwola also addresses this issue. 

Current News Articles on the Restitution of the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria accordion-plus accordion-minus
Nigeria seeks to calm tensions over return of Benin bronzes. The Art Newspaper. (07.01.2022)
Austria takes first step to return artefacts from colonial era. The Art Newspaper. (07.01.2022)
Hamburg shows its Benin artefacts before restituting them to Nigeria. The Artnewspaper. (15.12.2021)
France returns 26 looted artifacts and artworks to Benin. CNN. (12.11.2021)
After more than century tearful return looted treasures Abomey. Washington Post. (11.11.2021)
Why the Smithsonian’s Museum of African Art Removed Its Benin Bronzes From View. Smithsonian Magazine. (10.11.2021)
France returns colonial looted art to Benin. DW. (09.11.2021)
Britain can't decide whether it should send its looted treasures back to their rightful owners. CNN (31.10.2021)
Scottish university hands over looted Benin Bronze to Nigeria. Reuters. (29.10.2021)
Benin pushes for 'full restitution' as 26 looted objects destined to return to the country go on show at the Quai Branly in Paris. The Art Newspaper. (25.10.2021)
Pressure grows on other restitution cases ahead of first Benin bronze return. Museums Association. (19.10.2021)
And so it begins: Germany and Nigeria sign pre-accord on restitution of Benin bronzes. The Art Newspaper. (15.10.2021)
Return of Benin bronzes begins next year as Nigeria, Germany sign MoU. The Guardian. (14.10.2021)
Architect and designer Sir David Adjaye talks about bringing home Benin Bronzes. CNN Africa on Twitter. (04.10.2021)
FG sets date for full return of stolen Benin Bronzes from Germany. The Eagle Online. (09.07.2021)
Benin bronzes: Nigerian delegation visits Berlin. DW. (09.07.2021)
Berlin museums board agrees to relinquish Benin bronzes 'regardless of how they were acquired'. The Art Newspaper. (30.06.2021)
How the Labels in the British Museum’s Africa Galleries Evade Responsibility. Hyperallergic. (27.06.2021)
In the West, the Looted Bronzes Are Museum Pieces. In Nigeria, ‘They Are Our Ancestors.’ The New York Times. (23.06.2021)
Nigerian, British, German govts to build museum for returned Benin bronzes. Premium Times Nigeria. (22.06.2021)
Looted Art: Britain’s Reluctance to Restitute Benin Bronzes. Mutual Art. (18.06.2021)
Metropolitan Museum of Art Sends Three Benin Bronzes Home To Nigeria. NPR. (09.06.2021)
Benin Bronzes Are Scattered All Over the World. We Asked Museums That Hold Them Where They Stand on Restitution. ArtNet. (18.05.2021)
Germany first to hand back Benin bronzes looted by British. The Guardian. (30.04.2021)

Between 1904 and 1908 troops of the German Empire under the leadership of General Lothar von Trotha waged a genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama peoples in the then colony of German South West Africa. Most of the victims died of starvation and dehydration after being purposefully trapped in the desert or due to rampant diseases and abuse after their imprisonment in concentration camps. In 2015 Germany officially called the events as a genocide for the first time, which paved the way for negotiations with Namibian authorities. For more information on the negotiations, Germany’s official apology and the discussion over financial compensation, we invite you to read the articles listed below.

The It’s Yours! room curated by Esther Utjiua Muinjangue and Ida Hoffmann addresses the genocide and the five years of negotiations that led to the current agreement.


The Residential Schools in Canada

Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline

Historica Canada

Residential school survivors on the scars of abuse

CBC News

Canada: Hundreds of graves found at Indigenous boarding school

Al Jazeera English

How residential schools in Canada robbed Indigenous children of their identity and lives

The Guardian

The Restitution of Looted Benin Bronzes

Art, Loot and Empire: The Benin Bronzes

OpenLearn from The Open University

Germany to return Benin Bronzes to Nigeria: A new era for stolen artifacts?

DW News

Africa's Looted Art

DW Documentary

BENIN 1897 - KÖLN 2021

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum / Diskussion / Andreas Görgen, Dan Hicks, Peju Layiwola, Nanette Snoep

German Recognition of Ovaherero and Nama Colonial Genocide in Namibia

Germany recognizes colonial killings in Namibia as genocide


Namibia genocide: Descendants want German reparations, not aid

Al Jazeera English

PDM leader describes N$18.4 billion offer for genocide reparations by Germany unacceptable

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation

RESIST! CONVERSATIONS: It’s Yours! Esther Utjiua Muinjangue

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum

Germany to return human remains from Namibian genocide of Herero and Nama people

DW English