'Give Africa its art back', Macron's report says

Title: 'Give Africa its art back', Macron's report says
Author: Vincent Noce
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: November 20, 2018

“(…) For Felwine Sarr, concerns over the conditions of preservation and display of the works once back in Africa, often cited by European museums as a justification for keeping looted works, are not a valid reason for refusing restitutions. “There are more than 500 museums on the continent, around 50 in countries like Nigeria or South Africa. Benin is building three museums and restoring another one. There is some condescension in this request for facilities on the continent.”

When asked about cases where several States or museums might lay claim to the same items coming from ancient kingdoms, he said: “It will be up to the governments to solve the matter,” and suggested it would then be their responsibility to transfer the pieces to traditional chieftains or royal families, but also to universities, schools, art centres or even “communities for ritual use”. Generally, the report insists on a new vision, “resocialising objects of cultural heritage” that have been “creolised” while on display in European museums.

“There should be no conditions attached to the restitutions,” argues Savoy, who stresses that “we are dealing with the case of a continent which has almost nothing left of its history when we have it all. The aim is not to empty Western museums to fill up the African ones, but to invent a new relationship based on ethics and equity.””