The Senegalese Academic Felwine Saar is on TIME’s 100 list for his contributions to the groundbreaking report on African artifacts. Titled “The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics,” report argues for the return of artifacts stolen by European colonial powers from Africa and Asia.
Renown architect Victor Adjaye presented the tribute to Sarr and his collaborator Bénédicte Savoy. He cited the significance of the report, which he says is “a testament to the fight against colonial legacies of violence.” He adds:
In addition to its urgent message on the need to restitute African and Asian artworks to their countries of origin, the report provides a framework to guide the emergence of new institutions and spaces that decenter the power dynamic and objectification created by the West…Felwine and Bénédicte created a theoretical basis for that work, a radical call for understanding how restitution can become a tool for restoring lost memories, and from that new constructs can emerge and become new teaching tools within society.
Adjaye also notes the impact of the report, citing the efforts of “France and Germany and museums including Berlin’s Humboldt Forum” to make good on the mandate to return these cultural objects.
Sarr is the author of the critically acclaimed book Afrotopia and a professor at Duke University. Congrats to Sarr and Savoy on such a well-deserved honor!