Africa’s Fight for Its Art

A Conversation between Bénédicte Savoy and Nanette Snoep.

In her latest book “Africa’s Fight for its Art. Geschichte einer Postkolonialen Niederlage” (History of a Post-Colonial Defeat), Bénédicte Savoy, the French art historian and expert in the field of restitution, traces the struggle of African states for the return of their artworks stolen by the European colonial rulers, which has now lasted over 50 years.

Impressively documented by international documents and correspondence from the archives of ethnological museums, the German Foreign Office, newspaper clippings, news broadcasts, talk shows, documentaries and feature films, Savoy shows that this struggle, which was already being waged in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, has been ignored or forgotten in the current restitution debate. She reconstructs the decades-long “defensive struggle” against any concession and calls instead for restitution to be understood and made possible as a gesture of fairness and solidarity.

The conversation with Bénédicte Savoy is conducted by Nanette Snoep, director of the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum (RJM) at Cologne. The talk is conducted in German and accompanied by English subtitles.

The conversation between Bénédicte Savoy and Nanette Snoep took part within the RESIST! CONVERSATIONS at the RJM. It is also of interest in light of our Museums in Motion Workshop Series. This podcast series curates dialogues about the future of museums and colonial collections in a global context. Conceived as a workshop, it presents conversations in an ongoing debate with scholars, curators, activists and others across space.