(Pas) Mon pays and The Copy at Contour Biennale 2019, third phase

19 october 2019 - 21 october 2019

Location: Contour Biennale 2019 at Kunstencentrum nona, Begijnenstraat 27, 2800 Mechelen (BE)

Contour Biennale is one of the most easily recognizable, large-scale exhibition platforms in Belgium: a unique initiative engaging with local and international artists who focus on the moving image and its wider representation in installations, sound and performance. The 9th edition of Contour will take on a whole new form. The projects presented during Contour Biennale 9: Coltan as Cotton are inspired by and relate to the city of Mechelen, its inhabitants and, more broadly, Belgium’s recent colonial history. (https://www.contour9.be/en/contour/about/)

For this occasion Bie Michels is asked to make new work related to Mechelen and her own history. She was born and raised in Congo, in a house on the campus of the current University of Kinshasa (former Lovanium, the first university in the country, 1954-1971). As the title indicates, (Pas) Mon Pays, Part I and II, is in two parts. The first talks about a colonial monument in Mechelen and Michels’ efforts to decolonize this statue with a group of Belgian citizens with Congolese roots*. To this end, she had a copy made of the statue and they designed a new text for the pedestal together. The second shows the artist’s visit to Congo. (Pas) Mon Pays is based on her personal history, as an attempt to let the past encounter the present and see further into the future of the postcolonial situation, in both Congo and Mechelen.

The Copy, which include the copy of the statue and the proposal of a new text can also be seen in the exhibition area of Contour 19. (Read more)

* Lieven Miguel Kandolo, Anne Wetsi Mpoma, Georgine Dibua, Jessy Ohanu, Michel Witanga, Joël Ndombe, Nadia Nsayi, Rina Rabau, Stella Okemwa, Don Pandzou, Floribert Beloko, Michel Mongambo and Sarah Bekambo.

Some members of the group signed and published a letter about this in De Standaard on 26 June 2019 (in Dutch)

Article in Rekto:Verso and Knack

Curator Natasa Petresin

Photos Lavinia Wouters