Contemporary artists tracing colonial tracks
29 May - 3 October 2021
Both the Middelheim Museum and the University of Antwerp are situated where the Colonial College was founded in 1920. More than one hundred years later, the Middelheim Museum confronts and examines the traces of the (post) colonial history of the site. It does so by bringing together new historical research with contemporary artistic views.
Guest Curator Sandrine Colard uses Congoville as a collective name for physical and mental vestiges of the colonial past in Belgium. These traces are often hidden in plain sight and continue to have a conscious or unconscious effect in today’s society. They include street names, monuments, and built patrimony; colonial myths and the mentalities that these nurtured, the African presence and the experiences borne by people of African descent. Certainly the Middelheim site, as a former focus point of colonial education, is part of this unseen city.
For the exhibition, 15 internationally renowned artists, in the role of ‘black flâneurs’, take the visitor on a walk in the park. They guide us in a quest to revisit the past and transform the public space into a truly shared one; they present new and different perspectives of a history that is too often told from a single perspective. Together with Leuven University Press, Middelheim Museum is publishing an exhibition catalogue in which, alongside interviews with the artists, numerous authors, academics and experts zoom in and out on the project.
“Today, as a free and an open air art museum, the Middelheim has the democratic potential to invite diverse visitors to look at colonial and postcolonial history through the eyes of black flâneurs of the world, and to transform Congoville from being a creation of colonial exploitation to a map for a future postcolonial utopia.” (Sandrine Colard, curator Congoville, 2020)
Curator: Sandrine Colard (BE/US)
Artists: Sammy Baloji (BE/DRC), Bodys Isek Kingelez (DRC), Maurice Mbikayi (DRC), Jean Katambayi (DRC), KinAct Collective (DRC/FR/NL/BE), Simone Leigh (US), Hank Willis Thomas (US), Zahia Rahmani (ALG), Ibrahim Mahama (GH), Ângela Ferreira (PT/MZ/SA), Kapwani Kiwanga (CAN), Sven Augustijnen (BE), Pascale Marthine Tayou (CAM/BE), Elisabetta Benassi (IT), Pélagie Gbaguidi (BEN).
Press images can be found here - Other images are available upon request.
Congoville. Contemporary artists tracing colonial tracks
29.05 - 3.10.2021
03 288 33 60
Free of charge. The exhibition shows works that are installed in the art park, as well as in three indoor locations. Due to COVID-19 measures we work with reservations for our indoor locations. To visit the entire exhibition, you must therefore make a reservation. This can be here.
Read more about the COVID-19 measures in the Middelheim Museum and general visitor information here.
Photo: Pascale Marthine Tayou, Colored Stones (detail), 2018. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Continua, exhibition view Hedges, Edges, Dirt - ICA / VCU, Richmond, USA, 2018 © ADAGP, Paris. Photo by David Hunter Hale for ICA / VCU.