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Jingling Ding on The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage
8 November, 2023
The report The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics by Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy explores the contentious issue of repatriating African cultural artefacts. Rietberg Museum like many other museums is facing concerns about the provenance of some of its artefacts, with questions about whether they had been acquired in an ethical and legal manner during the colonial period. In addition, there are increasing calls for certain artefacts to be repatriated to their countries of origin. This is part of a wider global debate on the restitution of cultural heritage.
At the same time, the Emil Bührle collection at Kunsthaus Zurich serves as a poignant backdrop for the crucial discussion on art restitution. The artworks in the collection were bought during tumultuous periods and this background has triggered huge discussions in society. The origin of the funding also adds another layer of complexity to this matter. The intricate ethical problem around the ownership of the artworks is remains an ongoing topic.