Sindika Dokolo, Crusader for Return of African Art, Dies at 48

By | November 12, 2020
Sindika Dokolo, Crusader for Return of African Art, Dies at 48

Sindika Dokolo, Crusader for Return of African Artwork, Dies at 48

Sindika Dokolo, a rich Congolese artwork collector who crusaded for the return of African artwork eliminated through the colonial period by Western museums, artwork sellers and public sale homes, however who grew to become embroiled this 12 months in investigations into how his Angolan spouse had acquired her riches, died on Oct. 29 in Dubai. He was 48.

His family announced his dying on his Twitter account. In line with information media reviews, he died in a diving accident off the coast of Dubai.

“Works that was once clearly in African museums should completely return to Africa,” Mr. Dokolo instructed Gadget Clock in 2015. “There are works that disappeared from Africa and are actually circulating on the world market based mostly on apparent lies about how they obtained there.”

Mr. Dokolo, who amassed a 5,000-piece assortment of latest African artwork, established a basis in 2013 that makes use of a community of sellers, researchers and attorneys working in Brussels and London to watch the artwork market and scour archives for African artwork that could be repatriated.

When a stolen piece is tracked down, Mr. Dokolo instructed Artnet Information final 12 months, “we confront the present proprietor and we provide them two choices: Both we go to court docket based mostly on the proof that we have now, which suggests reputational injury, or we pay an indemnity, which isn’t the present market worth, however the worth they paid after they acquired it.”

His basis has up to now positioned 17 artworks and returned 12 to their rightful locations. “If I’ve to spend a big deal of cash and 5 years in court docket, I’ll do it,” Mr. Dokolo instructed The African Report in 2016.

His early recoveries embody ancestral feminine masks and a male statue of the Chokwe individuals of central and southern Africa. They’d been looted from the Dundo Museum in Angola through the Angolan civil conflict, which lasted from 1975 to 2002.

Mr. Dokolo had cash aplenty to repatriate purloined African artwork. His father based the Financial institution of Kinshasa in Congo through the dictatorial reign of Mobutu Sese Seko, and Mr. Dokolo was married to Isabel dos Santos, a daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who was the president of Angola from 1979 to 2017. A billionaire, Ms. dos Santos is alleged to be Africa’s richest girl.

In January, the Angolan authorities charged Ms. dos Santos with cash laundering and embezzlement. Investigations by the Worldwide Coalition of Investigative Journalists and 36 media companions, together with Gadget Clock, confirmed how Western monetary corporations, consultants, attorneys and accountants had helped her revenue from her father’s rule of Angola and transfer lots of of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in public cash in a foreign country. The journalists had been aided by 715,000 paperwork, referred to as the Luanda Leaks, which had been offered by a whistle-blower.

Ms. dos Santos’ belongings, in addition to Mr. Dokolo’s, had been frozen in Angola, then in Portugal and the Netherlands, the place they’d enterprise pursuits. The Angolan authorities is making an attempt to get well about $1 billion in belongings from the couple.

Mr. Dokolo had mentioned that he and spouse had been scapegoats of the Angolan authorities, which is now led by President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço.

“It doesn’t assault the brokers of public firms accused of embezzlement, only a household working within the non-public sector,” Mr. Dokolo instructed Radio France Internationale in January.

Sindika Dokolo was born on Could 16, 1972, in Kinshasa, Zaire (the previous identify of the Democratic Republic of Congo). His father, Augustin Dokolo Sanu, impressed his son to gather African artwork; his mom, Hanne (Kruse) Dokolo, was born in Denmark and moved to Congo in 1966 to supervise the Danish Pink Cross dispensary there. She married Augustin Dokolo in 1968.

Sindika was raised in France and Belgium along with his two sisters and a brother, attended the Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague in Paris and studied economics, commerce and overseas languages on the Pierre and Marie Curie College of Paris. In line with his on-line biography, he left France in 1995 to be along with his father and pursue household investments.

Mr. Dokolo and Ms. dos Santos married in 2002, bringing him to Angola, a Congo neighbor. Details about his survivors apart from his spouse was not instantly out there.

Mr. Dokolo’s huge African assortment contains works by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare and the South Africans Zanele Muholi and William Kentridge. He helped African artists present their work at Western occasions, lent a few of his assortment to the Venice Biennale in 2007 and gave 340,000 euros, via his basis, to 17 artists who exhibited at Documenta, the German artwork occasion, in 2017.

However he appeared most obsessed with bringing stolen artwork again to Africa, with a deal with his adopted homeland. Saying the acquisition of a Chokwe masks from a French vendor in 2016, he mentioned, “Now could be the time for all of Angola’s misplaced cultural treasures to return house, the place they will play their function to the complete; a task that may assist strengthen Angola’s tradition and information.”

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