Liam Rees graduated from the University of Edinburgh with First Class Honours in French & Spanish. He is now a freelance theatre critic and dramaturg working between Belgium and Scotland.
A bust of Aristotle stares out at the audience. A vaguely Romantic-style landscape depicting men riding horses next to snarling dogs hangs from the ceiling. I have no idea which exact painting it is but that hardly matters. It’s familiar, as if it were from any gallery in Europe. In amongst this miniature impression of a museum, Thomas Bellinck sits on one of those typical minimalist-style benches commonly found in museums. Bellinck is no stranger to these spaces, having already created a future museum to the former European Union in his previous work ‘Domo de Eŭropa Historio en Ekzilo’ (‘House of European History in Exile’). This new work provides ample critique of the cultural institutions that uphold the Europe’s problematic version of history.
With the reopening of the Africa Museum in Brussels and the Same Same But Different festival in Ghent, Belgium’s colonial history and decolonisation have become much debated topics. Two recent productions (Luk Perceval’s Black: The Sorrows of Belgium and Roland Gunst’s Flandria) have been notable for what they reveal and add to the discussion.