Skip to content
"The silence and inertia of French museums on slavery and the colonies are ordinary"

LExpertise is straightforward. First go to the websites of a few of the main museums in the USA, the Metropolitan and MoMA in New York, the Artwork Institute in Chicago or the Philadelphia Museum of Artwork. All open on the identical assertion, prompted by the homicide of George Floyd: "We stand in solidarity with the Black group. "

The sentence is usually adopted by the promise of sensible measures as a result of "Solely seen actions will present dedication", as Matthew Teitelbaum, director of the Museum of Positive Arts in Boston, writes. The phrases Black Lives Matter ("Black lives depend") seem in full in his textual content. We will say that the gesture stays symbolic for the second, however it’s achieved.

Then go to the websites of the principle Parisian museums. Neither the Louvre, the Middle Pompidou, nor their colleagues show something on the topic. All announce their subsequent reopening and that of their ticket workplace, all supply digital excursions, however they apparently don’t have anything to say about what's occurring.

Why this silence ? As a result of the enterprise is American? The argument is clearly untenable, as evidenced by protests in latest days. As a result of public establishments are topic to a sure reserve? There are instances the place breaking guidelines that are solely administrative is an obligation.

Silence over the historical past of the slave commerce

One other speculation: some administrators would have contemplated the instance of Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum. On June 5, he posted a textual content on the positioning of his museum the place, after having affirmed that he felt in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, he continued: "I hope we are going to discover the proper methods to permit the museum to higher replicate our societies and our complicated histories, stuffed with litigation and combined historical past. " He was instantly reminded that the British Museum may set an instance and query his assortment of bronzes looted in Benin Metropolis (Nigeria) by British troops in 1897 and, in fact, on the Parthenon marbles. His assertion appeared opportunistic and never very credible, and it could have been the identical if a few of his Parisian counterparts had spoken.

Article reserved for our subscribers Learn additionally In direction of a return to Nigeria of looted treasures from Benin Metropolis

However, if they’re significantly seen in the present day, the silence and the inertia of French museums on all that issues slavery and the African colonies of France are ordinary. There are a lot of indicators of this discomfort – to place it mildly.

You may have 57.84% of this text to learn. The suite is reserved for subscribers.