Share this Collection
1 Citation in this Annotation:
Zhishuang Liu on The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage
8 November, 2023
The discourse at the Rietberg Museum centered on the themes of restitution, ownership, and the significance of artwork as addressed in Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr’s influential paper, The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics. The paper delves into the historical underpinnings of colonization, stressing the imperative to acknowledge and tackle the legacy of colonialism. It also underlines the vital role of restitution in establishing fair relationships and ensuring that Africa’s youth have access to their cultural patrimony—challenges that the Rietberg Museum is also confronting. The primary challenge in the restitution endeavour lies in determining the origins of a vast number of artworks—also regarded as cultural heritage—acquired during various eras from across the globe. Although the provenance and ownership history of certain items is indisputable, there remains a contentious debate over whether their return is warranted, considering their current function as ambassadors of their native cultures to the Swiss public.