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Spring 2023

France’s new trio of bills on addressing restitution

Starting with artworks, France is about to offer legal measures to address the ongoing World War II art and cultural heritage issues. France’s Ministry of Culture announced a trio of bills in January. One bill that targets human remains in museums is an amended version of an earlier bill proposed last year by French senators; another bill addresses works belonging to Jewish families persecuted during the Nazi era; and the third bill considers restitution of art objects, including those from the colonial era.

The trio provides an opportunity to legally acknowledge crimes committed against Jews during World War II. Moreover, by abolishing the current procedure of case-by-case parliamentary votes, the bills are likely to expedite future large-scale returns.


Banksy’s solidarity with Ukraine

The British street artist Banky confirmed authorship of seven murals in various locations in Ukraine after a wave of speculation in November 2022 to The Art Newspaper. The works are Banksy’s first public murals in over a year. Shortly thereafter, opportunistic thieves chiseled off one of the murals that depicts a woman in a gas mask and a dressing gown. Fortunately, police later recovered it in intact condition. This incident caused a public discussion on what to do with the seven Banksy murals on the buildings that are scheduled for demolition.

In January 2023, Banksy’s effort to support Ukraine were sabotaged again, and this time was from Russia. Banksy supplied a set of 50 limited-edition screenprints to an international charity the Legacy of War Foundation for an online auction. The proceeds would be spent on purchasing new ambulances and support vehicles. Russian IP addresses submitted over 3,500 rogue registrations. It slowed the Foundation’s notification process for successful applicants.

Appreciative of Banksy’s support, Ukraine issued a Banksy stamp to mark the 1st anniversary of the full-scale invasion.