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Ethnographic Museum

Preparations for the exhibition "Benin Dues"

On the occasion of the International Day of Provenance Research on 10 April 2024

Two of the artefacts at the Ethnographic Museum UZH, whose origins will be presented in the upcoming exhibition "Benin Dues" – as well as what should be done with the objects in the future. Photo: Alice Hertzog.

On the 10 April 2024, the international Provenance Research Day will take place for the sixth time. More than 100 cultural institutions in Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the USA will take part.

Two years ago, as part of the Benin Initiative Switzerland, we began analysing the 18 objects from the historic Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria that are preserved here. We now know more. Provenance research has revealed that 14 of them were probably looted during the colonial war of 1897.

In the exhibition entitled "Benin Dues" (opening on 23 August 2024), we address the provenances of the objects and show how they came to Zurich. We have invited members of Nigerian and African diasporas to discuss the status, significance and potential of the cultural heritage still preserved in Switzerland from the perspective of affected communities. The exhibition will give space to these voices.

Völkerkundemuseum UZH