Moussem – collection
Mu.ZEE 28.09.19 > 12.01.2020 Younes Baba-Ali
M HKA 29.05.20 > 30.08.20 Basim Magdy
Today, an animated and difficult debate is raging in Europe about the continent's colonial past and the robbery of heritage and art treasures from colonised nations. In collections of many European museums, works of art can be found that have been stolen or at least landed there in a dubious way. Meanwhile, there's the Savoy-Sarr Report in France, on the restitution of African heritage, while the reopening of the 'Africa Museum' in Tervuren has been seen by many as a missed opportunity to conduct a thorough debate on Belgium's colonial past.
Europe and the West continue to dominate the art market today, but the advance of other centres and networks is redefining the power balance in the art world worldwide. Access to European biennials, art centres and museums for artists and curators from the south is still limited. But while the old generations of artists from the south longed for recognition by Europe, many young artists cherish their autonomy and refuse to submit to the demands and expectations of the European scene. They show their work in the Middle East, Africa and Asia without feeling the need to pass through Paris or London to make a career. New South-South exchanges and networks are taking shape, making these power shifts insurmountable.
The impact of globalisation and migration on Europe and the rest of the world has become irreversible today. In many super-diverse European cities, the (power) relationships between 'majority culture' and 'minorities' are shifting. The new citizens are carriers of multiple identities and frames of reference. In addition to a reflection on a shared past, the construction of a new common future is nowadays paramount. We need new narratives and a new common heritage that connects the past with the present. This can only be achieved if we dare to ask a few questions, like: How can new citizens appropriate the local history and add a new paragraph? Who has the power in our art institutions and who determines what is represented and how? How can we come up with multiple stories and images that can be representative of the diversity of the world, far from ethnographic and Eurocentric approaches?
With the Moussem Collection project, we try to formulate answers to these pertinent questions, together with our partners M HKA in Antwerp and Mu.ZEE in Ostend.
Together with M HKA/Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Moussem continues to build on the multifaceted joint project Zonder Titel (Without Title) that was realised in 2007. This resulted, among other things, in the inclusion of work by 6 artists from North Africa in M HKA's permanent collection. Both partners are committed to a far-reaching cooperation around collection building in the coming years. Every year, an artist is supported, followed by an exhibition in the museum. Moussem and M HKA subsequently purchase work in co-ownership, which is given a place in M KHA's permanent collection. The project starts in may 2020 with artist Basim Magdy.
With Mu.ZEE in Ostend, Moussem focuses as from this season on young artists with a link to the MENA region, with extra attention for those who are active in Belgium. A young artist is invited every year as part of the Enter project, to show work in Mu.ZEE. A purchase of her/his work for the permanent collection will then follow. The first result of this engagement will be visible to the public from September 28th 2019 on, with an exhibition around the work of Younes Baba-Ali.