In October 2020, Museum am Rothenbaum Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK) started an extensive two-year project that brings together the art treasures from the Kingdom of Benin, which were looted in the late 19th century and scattered around the world, on a digital platform and makes them accessible to a broad public: DIGITAL BENIN.
A generous grant of 1.5 million Euros from the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung is funding the project with offices in Hamburg and Benin City, as well as workplaces in France, Austria, the United Kingdom, and the United States. A fourteen-member international project team, supported by five scientific advisors in Nigeria, Kenya and the USA, set to work contacting collections worldwide, compiling the relevant object data and processing it for the platform. The result: 131 museums and institutions from 20 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada and Israel, as well as 14 European countries, collaborated for the documentation of over 5,240 objects.
An unprecedented knowledge forum, DIGITAL BENIN introduces new scholarship which connects digital documentation of the translocated objects to oral histories, object research, historical contexts, a foundational Edo language catalogue, provenance names, a map of the Kingdom of Benin, and museum collections worldwide.