“I had been asked to play a solo concert, but I wasn’t keen to perform alone,” explains lyricist and lead singer Wannes Deboes. “So I asked some extra musicians to join me. It wasn’t yet the line-up we have now, but I consider it the beginning of Quasiland.”
The Wonderkamer contains 18 wooden cabinets in which children’s authors and illustrators such as René Swartenbroekx, Bettie Elias, Lieve Baeten and Kolet Janseen were able to show what inspires and motivates them, as well as some personal titbits that are essential to their way of writing.
When speaking about Belgian art at the beginning of the 20th century, the focus often lies on the Flemish expressionists (Constant Permeke, Gustave De Smet), a symbolist like Valerius De Saedeleer or fauvist Rik Wouters. They all worked within the figurative tradition, but the national avantgarde art of the time also fostered a bunch of abstract painters.
Unlike their figurative colleagues, they were not cherished at the time. And with a few exceptions, there has been no real revaluation since.
Flemish director Anja Daelemans made the film with British director Nicholas Bonner and North Korean director Kim Gwang Hun. Daelemans, the producer of two Oscar-nominated shorts, ran into Bonner at a film festival in 2006. Over “a little too much whisky,” she says, they hatched the idea of making a feature film in North Korea. (The only other westerner to have that distinction was an Italian director of exploitation films in the 1980s, who brought in several Italian actors.)
In the Arab world, the power of the image has often been misused as propaganda by dictators. With the help of a camera and the internet, local artists and activists are using the same images to their advantage, throwing them like a boomerang in the faces of the leaders they used to fear.
That was the goal of Aguirre, who curated the show himself. “We decided not to make it a historical, retrospective kind of show because I thought I was too young for that,” the 52-year-old tells me from his home in the Borgerhout district of Antwerp. “Instead of chronological or thematic, it’s more like a poetic landscape. Every visitor can make their own story from it.”
The most remarkable difference between Stay Gold and Ozark Henry’s previous outings is the presence of second singer Amaryllis Uitterlinden. In the past, Goddaer has regularly added an extra voice to his songs. This time around, it’s different. “Some of the new songs gravitated towards duets. For that I didn’t just need a good singer, but someone whose voice fits with mine. Compare it with a film: It’s not enough to have two great actors; there needs to be chemistry between them.”
Nicolaas Rockox lived in turbulent times. He was a scion of a family of urban nobility – referred to as the Nobles of the Gown as opposed to the “real” nobility known as the Nobles of the Sword – that had served the thriving city of Antwerp for decades.
Chances are you’ve never really thought about the origins of Brussels’ Central Station, as you rush through on your way home. The terminal of Brussels Airport in Zaventem is another building that is taken for granted as travellers pass through its doors; it serves its purpose, and we don’t think any more about it.
You would be forgiven for missing the opening of De Grote Post, Ostend’s new culture centre. Though it’s been in the press for a couple of years, mostly with an air of relief that the building, which has stood empty since 1999, would finally be put to good use, it began staging events quietly, with invitation-only performances by Tom Lanoye and Wouter Deprez last December.