Category Archives: Repatriation

A tale of two protests: Museum protest then and now

Posted on: November 9, 2020 by Alexander Herman

Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza (left) is a man on a mission. A prolific protestor at museums in France and the Netherlands, he targets objects on display that originate from Africa, lifts them from their stands and parades them around the galleries while making pronouncements on the crimes of European colonialism. ‘Je part avec à la maison,’ he […]

French law will finally tackle (some) African restitutions

Posted on: July 21, 2020 by Alexander Herman

Last week, the legal review of a bill under consideration by the French government was released. Following President Macron’s statement on the restitution of artefacts to African countries in November 2017 and the release of the controversial Sarr Savoy Report the following year, this is the first we’ve heard about specific legislation on the topic. […]

Fifty years on: the meaning of the 1970 UNESCO Convention

Posted on: June 18, 2020 by Alexander Herman

Amidst the sad turmoil (for some) and the uncertainty (for all) brought on by the pandemic and the resultant lockdown, it is perhaps more forgivable than usual to miss an important anniversary. I am referring here to the fact that 2020 marks 50 years since the adoption of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting […]

New Art Antiquity and Law Issue Released

Posted on: May 15, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

The most recent issue of Art Antiquity and Law is now available and, since we all have a little extra time on our hands lately, you can find articles, case notes and book reviews in our journal to help fill those spare hours with fascinating reading. Evelien Campfens gives a detailed exposition of the methods for […]

Lessons in Collecting from the Museum of the Bible

Posted on: April 14, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

The Museum of the Bible has been a site of continual controversy since its opening in November 2017. The issues it has faced range from alleged thefts and forgeries to the illicit trade in antiquities. More than anything else, the Museum’s difficulties have demonstrated the importance of careful provenance research before acquiring artefacts for a […]

Arts Council England appoints IAL to develop new guidance on restitution and repatriation

Posted on: March 19, 2020 by Kiri Cragin Folwell

On Monday 16 March, Arts Council England announced the appointment of the Institute of Art and Law (IAL) to develop new guidance for museums on the restitution and repatriation of cultural objects. The guidance, which will be published in Autumn 2020, will aim to encourage a more proactive and coordinated approach across UK museums by […]

Action at last? France renews promise to return looted artefacts to Benin

Posted on: January 23, 2020 by Charlotte Dunn

President Emmanuel Macron originally promised to return 26 artefacts, currently held in the Musée du Quai Branly–Jacques Chirac in Paris, to Benin in 2018. These objects were taken as spoils from the Kingdom of Dahomey in 1892, as part of French colonial military action. Macron’s promise was made in response to the publication of the […]

New issue of Art Antiquity & Law available now

Posted on: January 16, 2020 by Julia Rodrigues Casella Hommes

As we leave behind the festive season, the latest issue of Art Antiquity & Law has just been released in time for you to start the new year with the latest in-depth analyses from the world of art and cultural heritage law. Adam Jomeen writes about street photography and compares the legal treatments afforded to […]

Update on restitution: recent returns

Posted on: November 22, 2019 by Alexander Herman

After my piece last week on restitution, there have been some interesting developments in the area. First of all, a major non-profit organisation, the Open Society Foundations, has pledged US$15 million to assist groups working to restitute African heritage. The money is pledged over a period of four years. As I said when commenting on […]

One year after the Sarr-Savoy report, France has lost its momentum in the restitution debate

Posted on: November 15, 2019 by Alexander Herman

The following commentary first appeared in The Art Newspaper print edition (November 2019) and on The Art Newspaper website on 12 November 2019. A year ago this month, authors Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy submitted their controversial report to French President Emanuel Macron. The report recommended the return of a vast number of Sub-Saharan African artefacts currently in […]