AFRICA'S STRUGGLE FOR ITS ART, history of a postcolonial defeat

: Savoy (B.)

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214pp., b/w & colour illus., hardback d.w., First English Language Edition, Princeton, 2022


First published in German in 2021 as "Afrikas Kampf um seine Kunst Geschichte einer postkolonialen Niederlage". Translated by Susanne Meyer-Abich.

“A prequel to present debates on restitution, Africa’s Struggle for Its Art deftly details the tenacity of Africans who demanded the return of cultural property and the persistence of European arguments against it. Bénédicte Savoy’s text is not only a history, but also a forceful directive to Europe to finish the project of repatriation. This is a must-read for anyone who takes seriously the urgency of returning Africa’s stolen patrimony.” Steven Nelson, dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art

“Bénédicte Savoy adds a new and unexpected perspective to the current restitution debate. She reminds us that the quest for the return of African cultural objects goes back much farther than commonly purported and that decades-old arguments for restitution, similar to ones made today, were repeatedly stifled.” Barbara Plankensteiner, director of the Museum am Rothenbaum–World Cultures and Arts (MARKK) Hamburg

Bénédicte Savoy is Professor in the Department of Art History at the Technical University of Berlin and was Professor at the Collège de France in Paris from 2016 to 2021. She is the co-editor of Translocations: Histories of dislocated cultural assets; Acquiring Cultures: Histories of world art on western markets; and The Museum Is Open: Towards a transnational history of museums. She is the author (with Felwine Sarr) of The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a new relational ethics, known as the Sarr-Savoy Report.