What’s on: The stories behind 100 years of Congolese art in Antwerp


A pair of film festivals, a celebration of lithography and an artistic study of time are among our picks of the weekend’s cultural offerings

100 x Congo

Antwerp examines a century of Congolese art through 100 objects, looking at where they came from, the stories behind them and their significance to the Congolese people. The exhibition – which looks back to the 15th century, long before King Leopold II made the country his own private colony to be exploited – explores early contacts between Europe and Africa, the impact of missionary work on Congolese culture, and how locals perceived the white man.

Objects and records on show include propaganda photos, statues, hospital records and domestic utensils. Little is known about the creators of the art here; curators have worked with Belgian and Congolese researchers, artists and Antwerp residents to consider the past, present and future of the collection. Until 29 March, Museum aan de Stroom, Hanzestedenplaats 1, Antwerp

Earlier this year, the National Playing Card Museum in Turnhout invited master lithographer Cyriel Verbist to pass on his artistic expertise to three local students. The result of this process is now the subject of an interactive exhibition that also explores local history. Invented in Germany in the late 18th century by an author and actor wanting to cheaply publish multiple copies of theatrical works, lithography is a printing process based on the fact that grease and water don’t mix. It was once extremely popular but fell out of favour commercially with the rise of modern printing during the 19th and 20th centuries. Visitors to the exhibition can learn about the technique’s history and applications, and create their own handiwork too. Until 31 May, Druivenstraat 18, Turnhout

About Time

De Markten is a long-standing Flemish cultural centre in the former home of a crystal works on Brussels’ Oude Graanmarkt. To celebrate its four decades of exhibitions, theatre performances, workshops and debates it now presents an exhibition in which 14 artists present works referring to the notion of time. In a disrupted year, when time appears to have both sped up and stood still, it’s a fitting theme. The participating artists have embraced the concept broadly and exhibited both old favourite pieces and specially created works. Until 8 November, Oude Graanmarkt

Korean Film Festival/Millenium International Documentary Festival

Not one but two film festivals in the capital this weekend. A high point in the yearly cavalcade of film festivals in Brussels is the Korean Film Festival, with feature-length and short films of all styles focusing on drama, documentary and animation. It opens with Peninsula, an official selection from the 2020 Cannes Film Festival that wasn’t screened as Cannes was cancelled. The film is a standalone sequel to Last Train to Busan, picking up the zombie tale four years later. The Millenium International Documentary Festival is also back this week with the screening of high-quality, independent documentary films from around the world. New this year: some of the movies are available for free online, even before the festival starts, to the first 300 people applying for each film. Pictured is Hristiana Rayakova’s The Pit, about the public baths in Varna, Bulgaria.
Korean Film Festival, 16-23 October, Bozar and Cinema Galeries

Millenium, 16-25 October, Bozar, Cinéma Vendome, Cinéma Aventure and Kinograph

Photo: 100 x Congo © Frederik Beyens