Stolen Colonial Artifacts Have No Soul

Stolen Colonial Artifacts convey an artificial connection to Africa.

While stolen colonial African artifacts may have physical characteristics associated with Africa, they lack a deeper meaningful connection to the continent spiritually because they are stolen pieces of Africa's soul. In other words, they may share a racial or physical attribute with Africans but have little or no cultural, historical, or experiential ties to Africa because the artifact's value lies in the spiritual connection to higher powers of the African spiritual universe. 

Despite the different ways Africa is represented in diverse fields, such as cultural artifacts, this does not equate to a complete understanding of the African continent's land, people, and history. Looking at African artifacts does not comprehensively grasp the continent's complexities. When viewing the over 1,000 Benin Bronzes stolen by Germany, one is viewing the psychical bronze statues, not the spiritual. 

Benin Bronze Art
Benin Bronze Art

Stolen African Spiritual Artifacts

Throughout the colonial era, European powers frequently acquired and transported a wide range of art and artifacts from numerous regions of Africa to Western countries. This practice involved the collection of objects such as masks, sculptures, textiles, and other cultural items, which were often considered valuable and significant representations of the diverse cultures and traditions throughout the continent. 

Due to these collections, many of these items were permanently removed from the communities in which they originated, and they have since been the subject of ongoing debates and discussions regarding cultural heritage, ownership, and repatriation.

During the seizure of the Kingdom of Benin as part of the British Punitive Expedition beginning January 2, 1897, British forces engaged in widespread looting of its cultural heritage, which included the famous bronze artworks of the Kingdom of Benin.

The arrows and spears the Chibok townsmen had used against the British were then collected and sent to London, where they are held in storage today. However, curator labels available online about the background of the items at the British Museum, which holds around 73,000 African objects, make no mention of how the spears got there nor of the Chibok's resistance of colonization. 

While these artifacts may have African origins, they were often acquired without the consent or understanding of the cultures they came from. As a result, they may be displayed in museums or private collections without a genuine connection to Africa beyond their physical presence.

The lack of context or appreciation for the cultural significance of these artifacts can mean that they retain nothing of Africa except their origins. They may be treated as mere curiosities or art objects divorced from their cultural and historical contexts.

Many museums have initiated processes for repatriating cultural artifacts to their countries of origin. This involves returning items that were acquired through colonial or unethical means. Repatriation aims to right historical wrongs and restore a sense of ownership and dignity to the communities from which the artifacts originated.

Museums increasingly use digital platforms to make collections accessible to a global audience. This includes digitizing artifacts and providing information about their cultural and historical significance online, making them accessible to source communities and the public.

The examples provided all share a common feature of shallow engagement with African elements, whether in a business setting, fashion, entertainment, or the handling of cultural artifacts. Although Africa's visual and aesthetic aspects are present, there's often a lack of a more profound comprehension, respect, or connection to the continent's diverse cultures, histories, and traditions.

Stolen colonial African artifacts may possess physical features that are commonly associated with Africa, but they do not hold any authentic spiritual connection to the continent. This is because these artifacts are essentially stolen pieces of Africa's soul and, as a result, lack any meaningful cultural, historical, or experiential ties to the African people. The value of these artifacts lies in their spiritual significance to the higher powers of the African spiritual universe, which is what makes them such a vital part of African heritage and culture.

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