Panel held within the framework of the conference From Restitution to Repair on September 10, 2022 at Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Berlin.
Further questions arise when restitution is set into practice. The challenges of homecoming—the psychological and epistemological dimension of the dispossessed cultural works—becomes evident, for example, when the exhibition of restituted objects mimics the model of Western museums. How can restitution go beyond ownership and material display to recuperate modalities of the living culture and its knowledges? How might one confront and repair the epistemic violence of colonial modern categories in which the works have been arranged in European museums—objectified, ahistoricized, and appropriated? How can custodians resocialize long-exiled cultural works, infusing life and dreams within the present African societies? The panel will reflect on the exhibition practices related to the restitution of cultural works in Africa, problematizing the mimicry of colonial museology and discussing the importance of imagining reappropriation processes in and beyond the museum ecology.