September 10, 2019

The Restitution Debate: African Art in a Global Society

Columbia University

Royal Statues from Abomey, seized 1892 by French soldiers. View of Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac. Photo: Z. S. Strother.

In November 2018, Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy released a report that had been prepared for the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, entitled "The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics." This report has set in motion a debate that could have a profound impact on the status of African art held in collections around the world.

During this full-day international symposium, the authors of the report will present their recommendations and reflect on the response that they have received over the past year. A panel of curators, scholars, and cultural entrepreneurs will respond to the issues, which have broad ramifications resonating well beyond Africa and Europe.

Erica P. Jones
(Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles); Daouda Keita (Musée National du Mali, Bamako); Patrick Mudekereza (Waza, Centre d'Art de Lubumbashi, DR Congo); Pap Ndiaye (Institut d’études politiques de Paris); Patrice Nganang (Stony Brook University, New York); Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (The Museum of Modern Art, New York); Felwine Sarr (Université Gaston Berger, Saint-Louis, Senegal); Bénédicte Savoy (Technische Universität Berlin; Collège de France); Z. S. Strother (Columbia University); and Marie-Cécile Zinsou (Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Bénin).

Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia University) will serve as moderator and philosopher Paulin J. Hountondji (Université Nationale du Bénin, Cotonou) will act as respondent and lead the final discussion. David Freedberg (Columbia University) will deliver welcoming remarks.

Free and open to the public.

Registration recommended.

This event is presented by the Insitute of African Studies and is part of the Italian Academy's International Observatory for Cultural Heritage.

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