Public Positions | The Restitution of African Art | 25 Feb 2020 | 4pm

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020 - 12:30

WiSER invites you to a lunchtime lecture in our new series PUBLIC POSITIONS

by  Felwine Sarr on


During the heyday of imperialism, European powers undertook a massive program of cultural extraction and appropriation. Countless artifacts were taken from the Continent and housed in Western museums. As of today, over 69,000 of these are to be found in the London's British Museum, over 180,000 in the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren (Belgium), over 70,000 at the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris and many more in various museums in the Vatican. The sheer scale of this dispossession is hard to justify and despite persistent requests for their return, Western museums have kept hold of these objects.

Felwine Sarr is a distinguished economist, musician and poet, novelist and cultural critic. A co-founder with Achille Mbembe of Les Ateliers de la pensee de Dakar, the premier platform for critical thought in the Francophone world, he is the author of Afrotopia (University of Minnesota Press, 2020), Habiter le monde (2017) and numerous  novels.  With Achille Mbembe he has also co-edited Écrire l’Afrique-Monde (2016) and Politique des temps (2019). In 2017, in tandem with Benedicte Savoy, he was commissioned to produce a report  by the French President Emmanuel Macron to produce a report on this matter. Published on November 21, 2018, their report On the Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics has radically changed the terms of the debate on African art in the contemporary world.


Wednesday, 25th February 2020


WiSER Seminar room,

6th Floor, Richard Ward Building

East Campus, Wits University


All Welcome