Can a Revamped Africa Museum Appease Critics of Belgium’s Colonial Crimes? Here’s How It’s Trying

Title: Can a Revamped Africa Museum Appease Critics of Belgium’s Colonial Crimes? Here’s How It’s Trying
Author: Kate Brown
Media Outlet: Artnet News
Publish Date: December 8, 2018

“The $84 million restoration includes bringing contemporary African artists into the galleries of the "last colonial museum."

(…) On Saturday, Belgian prime minister Charles Michel is supposed to speak at the revamped Africa Museum’s official unveiling. In the background of the opening, Belgium’s government is deeply divided over Michel’s vote to support the U.N.’s pact on international migration. The controversy, which could unseat the prime minister, has further polarized opinions about the museum and the very racialized history it represents.

(…) Responding to this absence, Congo-based artist Freddy Tsimba has created an intervention: His work, Shadows, uses light to project the names of the first seven Congolese victims known to die in Belgium, who perished in the human zoo Leopold II made back in 1987 for the World Expo in Antwerp in 1894, as well as the names of children who died at the Belgian city of Gijzegem’s residential school between 1890 and 1906. Most of the names of the perhaps millions of Congo-based victims remain unknown.”