Restitution

Patrimoines africains : tous mobilisés

Title: Patrimoines africains : tous mobilisés
Media Outlet: Site du Ministère de la Culture, France
Publish Date: July 10, 2019

“Mieux penser et faire vivre durablement la coopération patrimoniale avec l’Afrique : tels étaient les grands enjeux du forum sur les « Patrimoines africains : réussir ensemble notre nouvelle coopération culturelle », organisé par le ministère de la Culture et le ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères, qui a réuni le 4 juillet à l’Institut de France, 200 scientifiques et professionnels africains, français et européens. Compte rendu.”

Bringing African Artifacts Home

Title: Bringing African Artifacts Home
Author: Damola Durosomo
Media Outlet: OkayAfrica
Publish Date: June 10, 2019

Niama Safia Sandy: (…) Restitution should not just be about returning an object, but also supporting a discourse that acknowledges the role of colonization, power and the history of how it happened, while also building a system of equity such that global cultural heritage items can be shared by all humanity in a manner that does not prevent indigenous peoples of the world from having control over their cultural artifacts and assets.

(…) I can't help but see irony in European institutions fighting to hold on to the very history it was claimed we do not have.”

Quels actes concrets dans la restitution des œuvres d’art à l’Afrique ?

Title: Quels actes concrets dans la restitution des œuvres d’art à l’Afrique ?
Author: Sabine Cessou
Media Outlet: RFI
Publish Date: April 28, 2019

“Alors que l’Allemagne et les Pays-Bas affichent une longueur d’avance, en s’organisant pour restituer des pièces – parfois sans conditions –, à Londres et Bruxelles, la question prête à débats. Faut-il des restitutions temporaires, des prêts aux musées africains, digitaliser les archives, ouvrir les inventaires des musées d’Europe pour que les musées africains y voient plus clair dans leur propre patrimoine ? En attendant la conférence prévue à Paris pour 2019 entre les acteurs concernés, des actes concrets commencent à être posés.”

Achille Mbembe - On The Restitution Of African Art Objects

"On the Restitution of African Art Objects" by Achille Mbembe

Lecture 1: "African Objects in Western Thought"
Chair: Hlonipha Mokoena
Date: March 6, 2019

Lecture 2: "People and Things in African Systems of Thought”
Chair: Pamila Gupta
Date: March 13, 2019

Lecture 3: "Debt, Reparation, Restitution"
Chair: Richard Rottenburg
Date: March 20, 2019

Held at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER),
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Restitution als Chance

Title: Restitution als Chance
Author: Andreas Fanizadeh
Media Outlet: Taz
Publish Date: March 10, 2019

“Die eigentliche Übergabe-Zeremonie findet am 28. Februar in dem 3.000 Einwohner*innen zählenden Dorf Gibeon statt, bis heute Zentrum der Witbooi.
(...) Das namibische Staatsfernsehen überträgt live, als der amtierende Präsident Hage Geingob spricht. Inés de Castro sowie Theresia Bauer überreichen Nama-Repräsentantinnen die Witbooi-Bibel und -Peitsche und halten sie zusammen mit Präsidenten Geingob in die Kamera. Hanse-Himarwa bittet Inés de Castro spontan zu einer Stellungnahme vor der Menge.”

Restitution Fears Unsettle the Trade in Tribal Arts

Title: Restitution Fears Unsettle the Trade in Tribal Art
Author: Scott Reyburn
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: January 29 , 2019

“(…) “Over the last 100 years, it’s been the work of Western scientists, collectors and dealers that has preserved these pieces,” he added. “Now we are looking like crooks.”

(…) International auction sales of tribal art — a classification that also includes Oceanic, pre-Columbian and North American pieces — stand at about €80 million per year, according to Aurélien Cuenot, chief executive and co-founder of Artkhade, a specialist database devoted to this market. African art represents the biggest sector, achieving €38.8 million in 2017 (…) In December a carved wooden neckrest from the Luba-Shankadi of Congo sold for €1.7 million at Sotheby’s in Paris. Mr. Cuenot said it was still too early to determine how the shifting attitudes toward restitution had affected auction sales for African art. “We would have to wait until the end of the year,” he said, adding, “I don’t notice any effect on the market today.”

Eurocentrism still sets the terms of restitution of African art

Title: Eurocentrism still sets the terms of restitution of African art
Author: Z. S. Strother
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: January 8, 2019

'“An online petition favouring Belgian restitution explains better what is actually being argued: “More than 90% of classical African works of art are outside of Africa.” In other words, what the statistic highlights are the art forms admired by early modernists such as Picasso and Matisse. “Classical” in commercial galleries is a term that most often refers to African works collected during the first half of the colonial period, ca. 1885-1930. Such a selective view of what constitutes cultural heritage continues the colonialist paradigm that African cultural achievement should be defined by European criteria. It also perpetuates the misguided notion that African cultural production effectively died in 1885 and everything produced thereafter is illegitimate and debased in quality.”

Artwork Taken From Africa, Returning to a Home Transformed

Title: Artwork Taken From Africa, Returning to a Home Transformed
Author: Jason Farago
Media Outlet: The New York Times
Publish Date: January 3, 2019

“(…) But how do Africans see the challenges, both practical and philosophical, of restituting works of art? What does the Savoy-Sarr report augur for African museums, African governments and African artists? And what new meanings might these works of art accrue if they are returned to where they were made centuries ago?

I posed those questions recently to three people with deep experience in African art. Souleymane Bachir Diagne is a Senegalese philosopher and professor of French at Columbia University who advised Ms. Savoy and Mr. Sarr on parts of the report; Cécile Fromont, associate professor at Yale University, is a French art historian who specializes in exchanges between African and European populations; and Toyin Ojih Odutola is a Nigerian-American artist, whose painstaking fictional portraits were seen last year in a Whitney Museum solo show (…)

MS. OJIH ODUTOLA I am looking forward to seeing these objects escape from the trauma of colonialism at some point. Every time we discuss these objects, we mention the “violence” of colonialism — but many were created before that!

(…) I don’t want to clear out museums. But what really hurts me, as an artist, is: Why are the Western institutions the most valid ones? What I’d like to see us move toward is the construction of institutions on the continent on par with Western institutions.””

L'Afrique demande la restitution de biens culturels

Title: L'Afrique demande la restitution de biens culturels / Restitution von Kunstschätzen: Afrika will Fakten schaffen
Author: Luis Nicolas Jachmann
Media Outlet: Arte
Publish Date: January 2, 2019

“Le numérique offre de nouvelles possibilités car cet espace démocratique « n’est pas encore colonisé », comme le constate Al-Badri. « Il comporte un fort potentiel d’émancipation », mais, pour l’artiste, se contenter de numériser les objets qui se trouvent en Europe pour en envoyer une copie en Afrique n’est pas une bonne solution. Cela équivaudrait « à ne rien vouloir changer. Ce serait le pire usage que l’on puisse faire de la numérisation ».”

“Neue Möglichkeiten biete das Digitale, weil dieser demokratische Raum „noch nicht kolonisiert ist“, wie Al-Badri feststellt. „Es gibt ein großes emanzipatorisches Potential“, sagt sie. Die Objekte in Europa hingegen schlichtweg zu digitalisieren und eine Kopie nach Afrika zu schicken, sei der falsche Weg. Das stünde dann wieder für den Pfad, „nichts verändern zu wollen. Das wäre das Schlechteste, was man aus der Digitalisierung machen könnte“, sagt Al-Badri.”