Body Talk: African Art Exhibition in Brussels

Body Talk: African Art Exhibition in Brussels


Looking for an excuse to get to Brussels? Want to see a powerful, intriguing modern exhibition that addresses issues of the body, sexuality, and feminism? Well book those tickets and get to Brussels to see the fascinating Body Talk: Feminism, Sexuality and the Body in the Work of Six African Women Artists exhibition. It runs from February 14th to May 3rd at WIELS, the Contemporary Art Centre, a leading art institution in Belgium. It can easily be reached by public tranport. You can take buses 50 or 49, or the tram 82 or 92, and get off at WIELS stop.

You’ve still got some time to see this fascinating exhibition that uses the bodies of the six different artists to manifest their messages of feminism and sexuality. If you are planning to visit Brussels, make sure to book your accommodation online beforehand, you can try, Brussels is a hot tourist destination and hotels are frequently full. In the centre area, accommodation is available from 53 Euro a night.

The Body Talk exhibition is a collaboration of six different female artists from all parts of the African continent. This group project addresses the ways feminism and sexuality play out. They use their own bodies, or those of others, as a tool of investigation. In the exhibition the model becomes a manifestation of the subject.

It clearly has an African resonance and you feel the passion for their continent through their bodies as well. One of the main messages is that African and Black feminism in collaboration with international networks of artists has given shape to this new genre of black feminist art. It all begins with the Diaspora, stemming from the African continent. This theme is explored through their bodies, which continue the strong tradition and struggle for freedom of speech and activism. They also refer to important political and historical figures in the fight for equal rights. However, these historical figures are represented by the modern personas of present bodies, being the artists themselves.

The artists in the exhibition are Zoulikha Bouabdellah, Marcia Kure, Miriam Syowia Kyambi, Valérie Oka, Tracey Rose, and Billie Zangewa. The exhibition has been expertly curated by Koyo Kouoh with the assistance of Eva Barois De Caevel of the RAW Material Company in Dakar.

The message of these strong, female, proud and experimental African artists is clear: they are the women of the world. They are intelligent and talented and they are the mistresses of their own destinies, where personal or professional. Curator Koyo Kouoh puts it very nicely, “We are conscious of our power of seduction and we claim the right and the freedom to live our sexuality as we see fit.” The artists are of different ages, careers, and artistic practices, which also helps represent the theme of diversity within the “dark continent.” Africa itself is a vast territory, as are the issues of feminism and the body. There are countless ways to interpret and discuss these issues. The Body Talk exhibition interprets the issue in a new way, by using the body itself to tell the story. It is of utmost importance to be aware of the different ways to interpret the same issue. By doing so we can avoid standardization of the feminist struggle. For more practical info about WIELS exhibitions, opening hours and tickets prices check here.

Performance art lovers, feminists, travelers and art admirers, get yourselves to Brussels because this is an exhibit you don’t want to miss.

Hanna Johnson


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