The report of the two French academics and senegalese on the very sensitive issue of the restitution of works of art to the countries of sub-saharan Africa has been completed and must be handed over on Friday at the Elysée palace for the president and Emmanuel Macron, announced on Monday that the publishing house Philippe Rey.
November 28, 2017, the president had announced the implementation in a period of five years of refunds, temporary or definitive of the african heritage in Africa. “The african heritage (…) should be highlighted in Paris, but also in Dakar, Lagos, Cotonou, ( … ) This will be one of my priorities. Within five years, I want the conditions to be met for a return of african heritage to Africa,” he said in his speech at the university of Ouagadougou.
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The head of State had entrusted Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr responsible for carrying out a reflection, by consulting specialists in Africa and in France. In the environments of museums and galleries, this report is awaited with anxiety, many hoping that the president will temper the the most radical proposals concerning the rules of refunds. Some museums have very large collections of african.
According to the publisher Philippe Rey, who will publish the content on the 27th of November in partnership with the Threshold, the report Savoy-Sarr “tells the spoliation through the history of the world, evaluates the part of France, provides a first inventory of the works, the dispossessed, the story of the attempts of african countries to reclaim their heritage, analysis of the legal issues that arise, and outlines a number of practical recommendations for the implementation of the refunds”.
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“We are currently in the French public collections at least 88.000 objects from the sub-saharan Africa,” says the editor in his introduction to the book, which highlights the “numerous claims of african countries since the independence”. The experts do not agree among themselves on what needs to be understood as robbery at the time of colonization, fear of escalations policies and emphasize the difficulty of reproducing works when the kingdoms and nations that possessed have disappeared.