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Oct 18

OCT 18

9:00 AM–5:00 PM


The Restitution Debate: African Art in a Global Society

9:00 AM–5:00 PM    Italian Academy, Amsterdam Avenue

To download a PDF about this event click here.


The Restitution Debate: African Art in a Global Society

International Conference

In November 2018, Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy released a report that had been prepared for the President of France entitled The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage. Toward a New Relational Ethics. This report has set in motion a debate that could have a profound impact on the status of African art held in collections around the world. 

During this full-day international symposium, the authors of the report will present their recommendations and reflect on the response that they have received over the past year. A panel of curators, scholars, and cultural entrepreneurs will respond to the issues, which have broad ramifications resonating well beyond Africa and Europe.

Daouda Keïta (Director, The National Museum of Mali)
Alisa LaGamma (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Pap Ndiaye (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris)
Alain Patrice Nganang (Stony Brook University)
Ciraj Rassool (University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa)
Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (The Museum of Modern Art, New York)
Felwine Sarr (Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis, Senegal)
Bénédicte Savoy (Technical university, Berlin and Collège de France)
Z. S. Strother (Columbia University)
Marie-Cécile Zinsou (Zinsou Foundation, Bénin)

Moderator: Souleymane Bachir Diagne (Columbia University)

Leading final discussion: Paulin J. Hountondji (National University of Bénin, Cotonou)

Location: Italian Academy
Free and open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome.

Conference presented by Columbia's Institute of African Studies. With the generous support of
The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia; Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia; Department of Art History, Barnard College; and Columbia Maison Française.

The Restitution Debate: African Art in a Global Society