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)

Sandrine Colard (BE/US)

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.

Press text Press_text.pdf - 461 KB Curatorial statement by Sandrine Colard Curatorial Statement Middelheim.docx - 20 KB Biographies Biographies.pdf - 401 KB Visitor guide 17834499_Congoville_2-33_Bezoekersgids_EN_HR_Cmyk.pdf - 18 MB



​Practical information

Congoville. Contemporary artists tracing colonial tracks
​29.05 - 3.10.2021

Middelheim Museum
​Middelheimlaan 61
​2020 Antwerp
​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.

Rafaelle Lelievre Communications Middelheim Museum & Kunst in de Stad
Nadia De Vree Perscommunicatie Cultuur, Stad Antwerpen

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. 



About Middelheim Museum

The Middelheim Museum is a unique institution where the amazing interplay between art and nature results in exceptional experiences. The open-air museum showcases modern and contemporary art amidst a green park setting. Works by artists such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Rik Wouters, Isa Genzken, Chris Burden, Ana Mendieta, Jean Katambayi, Barbara Hepworth, Bruce Nauman, Germaine Richier, Pascale Marthine Tayou provide a unique overview of more than a century of visual arts.

Every year the Museum sends out an invitation to renowned and promising artists. Freed from the typical “white cube” of a museum hall, the artists interact with the endless opportunities offered by the park and the existing collection. This inspires them to create new work, custom-made for the Middelheim Museum. In the past, the Museum has already collaborated with Berlinde De Bruyckere, Kapwani Kiwanga, Camille Henrot, Ulla von Brandenburg, Jeremy Deller, Sammy Baloji, Michel Francois, etc.

With an annual average of 400,000 visitors and free entry, the Middelheim Museum is a gateway to modern and contemporary art for young and old, from nature lovers to art experts. Culture and recreation come together in perfect harmony.

Middelheim Museum
Middelheimlaan 61
2020 Antwerpen