The Easel

‘It’s a Matter of Justice’: Bénédicte Savoy on the Argument for Restitution

Two years ago a French report advocated the repatriation of African objects with “negative histories”. What has happened since? Actual restitutions have been few but the debate about “heritage justice” has grown considerably. In particular, there is a push for openness about the background of artifacts – “restitution of the knowledge of the object’s provenance.” Museum-goers now ask “Do I want to enjoy this at the cost of some other suffering?”