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Louvre: Congolese activist steals a sculpture… unrelated to African culture

Renowned for his multiple attempts at theft, Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza wanted to “recover” works of art “stolen from Africa”.

Published: October 27, 2020, 8:49 am

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    On Thursday, October 22, Congolese activist Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza filmed himself trying to steal a sculpture in the Primary Arts wing of the Louvre Museum in Paris. He was arrested after the fact, and appeared on Monday, October 26, before the judges, who decided to set him free until his trial scheduled for December 3, reported French daily Le Figaro. Until then, he is prohibited from going to any museum in France.

    In the video, posted on Twitter, we see this activist grabbing a statue, shaking it, before taking it away. “I came to take back what was stolen, what was stolen from Africa, in the name of our people, in the name of our mother country Africa,” he announces.

    There is a slight problem however. As confirmed by The Art Newspaper, the Louvre specified that the work in question was a sculpture from the end of the 18th century… from the island of Flores, in eastern Indonesia. No connection, therefore, whatsoever with African culture.

    This is not the first time that Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza has attempted to “recover” works of art “stolen from Africa”. He had already tried to seize a funeral post at the Quai-Branly Museum on June 12, with the help of four accomplices. They then denounced the “plunder of Africa” and demanded the restitution of works taken during colonization.

    The five activists were arrested and appeared on September 30 before the Paris Criminal Court. The activist was fined 1 000 euros for “aggravated theft” and three of the other activists to suspended fines of 250, 750 and 1000 euros. The fourth thief had been released.

    Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza was also arrested in Marseille on July 30 for the theft of an ivory object from the Museum of African, Oceanic and Amerindian arts, and on September 10 in the Netherlands for having attempted to steal a sculpture from the Congo at the Afrika Museum in Berg en Dal.

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