‘The Colonial Effect on Us Is Huge’: Why Congolese Collector Sindika Dokolo Sees Restitution as a Way to Remake African Identity
Art Business

‘The Colonial Effect on Us Is Huge’: Why Congolese Collector Sindika Dokolo Sees Restitution as a Way to Remake African Identity

Sindika Dokolo. The question of whether Western museums should return works of African art to their home countries is vexed and hotly debated. But the mega-collector Sindika Dokolo thinks there’s a simple question that should be driving restitution determinations today: Was the object obtained legally? The 47-year-old Congolese business magnate has used this query as the basis for a worldwide campaign to compel Western museums, art dealers, and auction houses to return Africa’s art in cases where it was not legally acquired. Two years on, he and his international team of art sleuths have tracked down and overseen the return of 15 significant works of art. Dokolo is himself an established collector of African art. He began collecting at the age of 15 and, as part of his Sindika Dokolo Foundation, has since amassed upwards of 3,000 works, including those by some of the continent’s most important names: Zanele Muholi , Yinka Shonibare, and William Kentridge . Dikolo is happy to lend out works from his collection, but interested institutions had better first read his manifesto and know that they must agree to stage a show of similar content and value in Africa. We spoke to the collector and […]

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