The gallery in Fowler Museum which housed seven pieces of Asante artefacts that were stolen during the Sagrenti War of 1874 will not remain vacant.
The gallery will be filled with replicas of the crafts made by Asanteman as an appreciative gesture for their willingness and soft stance to give the treasures the opportunity to see home once more and permanently.
The Director of the Museum, Dr Silvia Forni, made this known as she expressed her gratitude to the Kingdom for the reward.
“We are honoured by your offer to make replicas for us so that we will forever have the opportunity to tell our visitors a better story in our gallery, one that does not glorify the violent history of the past but is formed around respect and highlights the contemporary importance and vitality of Asante culture.”
She said this during the Kuntunkuni Durbar on February 8, 2024, when the Museum officially handed over the treasures to Asanteman on the 150th anniversary of the Sagrenti War.
She was accompanied by Dr Erica Jones, the Senior Curator of African Arts and Manager of Curatorial Affairs and Dr Richel Raynor, Director of Registration and Collections Management and led by Ghanaian historian and museum economist, Ivor Agyeman- Duah as well as the Chair of the Department of Music at Tufts University and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Prof Kwesi Ampene.
In her speech, she said recent research on the seven artefacts stimulated their decision to return them.
“It is with great emotion that I stand here today to present to Your Majesty seven historical art works, some of which were looted from the Palace in 1876 and others that were part of the indemnity the Asantes were forced to pay to the British at the end of the Sagrenti War.
“The history of these objects has become evident to us through research that Dr Erica Jones here recently conducted on the collection that the Fowler Museum received from Welcome Trust 60 years ago. Once this information was clear, we knew that these objects needed to come back to Your Majesty and the Asante people.”
She used the occasion to admire the craftsmanship of Asanteman.
“These works are now here and forever returned to the Asante people. These pieces have had a long and troubled history. They are witnesses to tragic moments in the history of the Asante Kingdom. They are also a testament to the long tradition of the beauty, artistry and craftsmanship that have made Asante art famous throughout the world.”