Civilisations don’t appear out of nowhere and never reach a point of completion. They are created, grow and are renewed through cultural exchange. The coexistence of different cultures offers unprecedented opportunities. Through openness to what is foreign to us, along with understanding different traditions, it is possible to integrate them into our own mental processes and to innovate. This process, however, is demanding, slow, and requires trans-generational understanding.
The Senate, the assembly of federated entities, brings together and conciliates the communities and regions of Belgium. It thus embodies federal legitimacy.
In her research on the wayward Senegalese intellectual, scientist and politician Cheikh Anta Diop, Vanessa Van Obberghen (°1969, lives in Antwerp) translates her interest in genetics and DNA in a figure that confronts us with our stereotypes about Africa. Here, her Asian model has a stature that would generally be considered as ‘typically African’.
The South African artist Kendell Geers (°1968, lives in Brussels) produces works mixing preconceptions collected around the world. African fetishes are splattered with colour; as if the paint would reactivated their spiritual power. His works require relinquishing traditional explanations of art, and accepting an emotional body-to-body relationship with the works.
These djellabas by François Curlet (°1967, living in Brussels) deal with the identity problems encountered by some young people of immigrant background, torn between two cultures, one oriental (parental) and the other western (imposed by the media). The artist solves this identity-generated tension through a humorous synthesis between the traditional djellaba and streetwear: an apparent social, economic and political paradox.
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Tracing Cheikh Anta Diop ...
Vanessa Van Obberghen, Tracing Cheikh Anta Diop , 2014. Photography, digital print on aluminium foil mounted on dibond, 150 x 100 cm.