Akram Haissoufi : Après les murs

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Hello! I was thinking of going to the BRAFA art fair this weekend, but when I saw the entrance fee on their website, I thought it was better to go for plan B. I asked myself ‘how can I see great art in Brussels for free?’ You would be surprised of the possibilities! I decided to go see the exhibition of Akram Haissoufi at Espace Magh, rue du Poinçon 17 (close to Central station). 

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I assume Akram Haissoufi is a relatively unknown artist, because there is not much information about him online. All I can tell you so far is that he’s a visual artist and film maker from Morocco. The expo ‘Après les murs’ tells the story of people who leave their country to get a better life in another country. It’s about crossing borders and bumping into walls (both real and metaphorical). Being able to leave your country is a human right written in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s not easy to get across the borders and people are often labeled as ‘illegal‘. The artist also refers to the fact that the new country is probably very different from what they had imagined.  He represents their mental journey during this process. Today thousands of refugees are crossing boarders in search for a better life, so with that in mind I took a look at the paintings.

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Public art in Brussels: the man from Atlantis

There’s something strange about public art. On the one hand, there are sculptures that you can’t ignore and that everybody has an opinion about. Like the red blocks from Arne Quinze at the belgian coast for example. You either love it or hate it. On the other hand, some artworks are just as remarkable, and yet people don’t pay attention to them. How come? Like this strange creature for example. Did you see him yet?

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My resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year! What would you like to change or achieve this year? I was never a fan of New Year’s resolutions, but this year I do feel the need to think about what goals I would like to achieve. My boyfriend’s grandfather once told me that it’s important to have a goal in your life. I never forgot this sentence and the older I get, the more I think that he’s right!

I’m pretty sure that 2016 will be an exciting year for me. Tomorrow I’m starting a new job and in a few months we are moving to a different part of town. Of course we are not leaving Brussels 😉 . We need to do some renovations so I’m curious how that is going to work out. For now, we already started reading books about interior design to have an idea how we want it. A little dreaming never hurt anyone… These are my resolutions for 2016:

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I want to see as much art exhibitions as possible, even if I am too busy with work or other things.

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Top 3 current expositions in Brussels

As you know, Brussels has a lot to offer when it comes to modern and contemporary art. The New York Times even wrote that Brussels is the new Berlin because it attracts a lot of international artists. You can find the full article here. In the past months I visited several exhibitions and art galleries. I didn’t have time to see everything on my list, but these are the 3 exhibitions I think you shouldn’t miss:

1. I BELGI. BARBARI E POETI

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If there is one thing we Belgians can be proud of, it’s that we have a lot of artists that made it in the international art world. From the modern masters like Permeke, Magritte, Broodthaers, Spilliaert or Alechinsky, to the new generation like Koen Vanmechelen, Berlinde De Bruyckere or even Hell’o Monsters. The exhibition focuses on the barbaric, unique, crazy, poetic, playful and unusual work of these Belgian artists. Think about dancing skeletons, a tattooed Jesus or a face made of little plastic soldiers. I love it! See more pictures and video’s here. You can visit the expo until 24 January 2016 in the Vanderborght building in Brussels.

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I Belgi – Barbari e poeti

Last weekend I visited an exhibition about Belgian art in the Vanderborght building in Brussels, called I BELGI – BARBARI E POETI. What? It’s Italian for ‘The Belgians, Barbarians and Poets’. I love the concept of this expo! It’s about  the barbaric, unique, crazy, poetic, playful and unusual work of Belgian artists. The title is in Italian because in Rome, Caesar once said that Belgian warriors are the most barbaric and fearless of them all. The expo shows old famous artworks, like Permeke, Magritte, Spilliaert, Broodthaers, as well as the new generation, like Koen Vanmechelen, Berlinde De Bruyckere and even Hell’o Monsters. It was the first time I visited the Vanderborght building, and I was pleasantly surprised. I wonder what will happen to the building, since the government is planning to sell it. These are a few of my favorite artworks:

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Funeral Fish, 2015 by Pascal Bernier.

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Getting married in Brussels: henna ritual

Hello everyone! Do you know what I like most about living in Brussels? That I get to meet lots of people from different cultures with different traditions. A friend of mine was getting married and since she told me it was going to be a mixed Moroccan-European wedding, I wanted to know all about the Moroccan wedding traditions 🙂 . She invited me to witness the henna ritual and gave me permission to take pictures!

The henna ritual is an importent element of a Muslim wedding, not only in Morocco but also in Turkey, Pakistan and so on. A few days before the wedding, a professional henna artist applies the henna on the bride’s hands and feet. Depending on the region where the bride’s family comes from, there are different patterns and styles to choose from. In the pictures and video you will see a Tanger inspired version.

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Expo Koen Theys & Gülsün Karamustafa

The Brussels museums are slowly reopening their doors, so I can finally tell you about an exhibition worth visiting: MYSTIC TRANSPORT @ the Centrale For Contemporary Art. In the context of the Europalia Arts Festival, whose focus is on Turkey, the Centrale invited the Brussels artist Koen Theys & the Turkish artist Gülsün Karamustafa. The result is an interesting mix of cultures. I would say that the expo is about how to live as an individual in a society with different cultures, that is constantly changing.

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Corner pieces, Koen Theys. There are many of these green ‘humps’ in the exhibition space. They have like little heads that are watching us. It makes me thinks of some kind of bacteria that can infect us all if we are not careful 🙂 .

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What to do in Brussels when all the museums are closed?

As you all know, there is not much to do in the city this weekend due to the terror threat level 4. Almost all public places are closed and there are no metros, so I have no other choice than to stay home. Hopefully it will pass very soon so we can go back to a normal life again…

I found the perfect pastime for this Sunday: a documentary that is called How Art Made The World, made in 2005 by BBC. I borrowed the dvd in Muntpunt (also closed this weekend). There are 5 dvd’s, good for 270 minutes of entertainment 🙂 . I only watched 2 of them so far, but I’m ready to install myself on the couch with a cup of tea and some chocolate. Let’s see a little fragment so that I can convince you it’s worth watching. 

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Pop Art in Belgium!

A few weeks ago I visited the Pop Art exhibition @ the ING Art Center (Place Royale). I think it’s about time that I share my experience 😉 .

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Actually, I’m not such a big fan of Pop Art, but I do like the ING Art Center. I really appreciated their exhibition of Alfredo Jaar in 2012. Now, Belgian Pop Art? Hmm, how come I never heard about that before? It made me curious enough to go take a look! 

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Without words

I always write a blogpost on Sunday, so for today I had something in mind about a great exhibition in Brussels. It’s just that I can’t pretend that this is a regular weekend. I’m shocked about what happened in Paris. Every book I read about blogging has learned me not to write anything when feeling very emotional or angry. Today I’m breaking that rule because yes, I am angry, yes, I am scared and yes, I feel really sad.

It’s heartbreaking to see all the messages passing by on twitter from people who lost their child, friend or husband. All these people are suffering and they will suffer for a long time. There is an expression that goes like this: if it rains in Paris, it drips in Brussels. So yes, in Brussels we can certainly feel the suffering too. I love Paris for the same reason I love Brussels: the little streets, the open-minded citizens, the cultural and artistic scene and the freedom to be who you are. All this has been swept away this weekend. Not entirely, because that wil never be possible.

I’m going to see the concert of Kamasi Washington this Monday in the AB. I wrote a blogpost about it this summer, and I remember something he said about the Ferguson shootings (read the full blogpost here). He said:  “What fixes your spirit when Ferguson happens? It hurts your spirit, it hurts your heart and soul. You need something to fix it.” That’s what he’s trying to do with his music, to fix our souls.

It takes time to heal the pain that is caused, but I am convinced that Kamasi will at least make me forget about this fucked up world for a few hours.

Greetings,

KOMALIBXL

 

 

 

 

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