As part of the Festival of Cultures of the Biennale of Luanda 2021, discover the cultural content (movies, documentaries, exhibitions, etc.) proposed by Belgium!

Enjoy your visit!

Discover Belgium!


Welcome to the Belgian pavilion

The Belgian participation in the Biennale of Luanda 2021 focuses on 5 films / videos that are presented in our national pavilion (with Portuguese subtitles).

These are "Totems and Taboos" by Daniel Cattier, "Sideline" by Joost Wynant, "Les Combattants du Poil Sacré" by Florian Vallée, "A Mascara Oculta" by Kristof Degrauwe, as well as a virtual visit to the exhibition "La terre plus belle que le paradis", by the artist Freddy Tsimba, organized at the AfricaMuseum of Tervuren, including an interview with the artist.

In this way, we hope to highlight the "African dimension" of Belgium, but "without taboos" and in an innovative way, focusing of course on the theme proposed by UNESCO and the AU for the Biennale 2021: "Pan-African Forum for the Culture of Peace".
Our national pavilion also presents a series of "links" where additional information can be obtained, notably about our development cooperation, the prestigious AfricaMuseum in Tervuren or the Belgian diplomacy.

One of the films, "Les Combattants du Poil Sacré" (Florian Vallée) will also be shown in theatres as part of the "Dialogos Euro-Africa" festival, organized by the EUNIC Angola network and which is the contribution of the European cultural centers in Luanda.

We are also pleased to announce the effective presence in Luanda during the Biennale of the great Congolese artist Freddy Tsimba and to support a specific program aimed at his contact with the world of arts and Angolan culture.

Several Belgian personalities will participate in the virtual or physical debate panels, including the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Urban Policy, Mrs. Meryame Kitir and Mr. Jean Van Wetter, Director of ENABEL, Belgian Development Agency.

We thank our sponsors, first of all the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Brussels Airlines.

Jozef Smets, Belgian Ambassador to Angola

Enjoy a selection of movies

curated by Belgium

Thank you for watching!

Totem and Tabous | by Daniel Cattier

An imposing palace, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Brussels is now the Africa Museum, following renovations. A voice from Africa haunts the premises, telling of the museum’s colonial origins. The time has come to return this heritage to its rightful owners, museums in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal… Now is the time for reconciliation with the past...

The Royal Museum for Central Africa | Brussels

About the Director | Daniel Cattier

Daniel Cattier, born in Belgium but of african origin, is a filmmaker and media consultant specializing in intercultural communication. After studying history and political science, he started as a researcher for Channel 4. He previously directed the series "Kongo, les grandes illusions", broadcasted on Arte, TV5 e RTBF. He also directed the documentaries "Red Star Line" and "Les routes de l'esclavage".

Watch now
Les combattants du poil sacré

Les combattants du poil sacré | Florian Vallée

Discover this mysterious battle which has been waged since the Middle Ages. Delve into the heart of Mons, a town in the Kingdom of Belgium, where each year the locals are transformed into a wild and rowdy mob. Once the fighters step foot onto the battlefield, they will go to great lengths to snatch a few hairs from the tail of a dragon which, according to legend, will bring them good luck.

Les combattants du poil sacré
A Documentary told by

Alain Foka

Les combattants du poil sacré

About the Director | Florian Vallée

Florian Vallée was born in 1984 in Mons. Since 2009, this photographer works daily to the realization of documentary and museographic films. His personal and contractual projects lead him around the world the world and more specifically on the African continent, where he has been living regularly since the age of twenty.

Les combattants du poil sacré
Thank you for watching!

Sideline | by Joost Wynant

After sustaining serious injuries, MOSES (28) - a former premier league player from Nigeria - is forced to accept that his football career has come to an end. In order to stay in the game, he transforms himself into a talent scout and embarks on a mission to bring young and aspiring African players to Europe. Tempting them with big promises that seem impossible to keep, Moses soon finds himself entangled in football’s infamous player trade, a system he once loathed himself. Because Moses once too was one of the thousands of African football play- ers that come to Europe to follow in the footsteps of their heroes Sadio Mané, Yaya Touré, Didier Drogba and many others. But only a happy few will succeed in building a professional career on a European football pitch.

For every successful African football player, thousands remain in the shadows, not making it professionally, and not able to return to Africa, out of shame and fear of disappointing their families back home. They keep roaming around Europe, with no papers and no safety net.
You can find these stranded players on fields in the suburbs of large European cities.

There, they train to stay fit, hoping as yet for their breakthrough.


About the Director | Joost Wynant

Joost Wynant (1980) worked as an actor in several films an TV-series most known is the film "ROSIE" by Patrice Toye were he played one of the leading characters. He studied film direction in the Brussels School of Arts RITS. His graduating film ("De Laatste Zomer", 2005) won the CANVAS prize as well as the VAF (Flemish film-fund) wildcard. In 2007 he made his first feature film “De Laatse Zomer”, Cav- iar Films 2007, based on his short film. A film that got good Belgian reviews. He then directed different theatre plays with his theatre company: Bleeding Bulls. He also worked for television. One the the most successful TV-projects he directed was the TV series Benidorm Bastards which won an international “Emmy award” and the “Golden Rose” for best European comedy show. He is now finishing his documentary feature length film “Sideline”, funded by the Flemish Film Fund (VAF) and the national broadcaster CANVAS. He just received writing funding for MOSES, his second feature fiction film from the Flemish National Film Fund.

Exhibitions proposed by Belgium
Africa Museum
Freddy Tsimba | ‘Mabele eleki lola ! The earth, brighter than paradise’

Thank you for visiting the virtual exhibition!

Freddy Tsimba

Discover Freddy Tsimba's Exhibition

The title of the exhibit, ‘Mabele eleki lola ! The earth, brighter than paradise’, expresses the urgency of living in the here and now, and to the resilience demonstrated by Congolese people day after day.

Tsimba’s monumental works come into dialogue for the first time with the museum’s collections. The artist thus pays homage to the work of traditional sculptors and smiths alike. In this exceptional encounter, twenty-two installations by Freddy Tsimba come face to face with thirty museum pieces.

Freddy Tsimba

The curator presents a face-to-face encounter between the memories contained in the ethnographic pieces and the spirit of Freddy Tsimba’s work. For the artist, the museum’s pieces hold memories that are waiting to come alive. African artists and intellectuals have always been interested in the museum’s collections. Opening this heritage to new studies, reflections, and reappropriations is an important step in the process of transforming the museum and its collections.

Freddy Tsimba

Freddy Bienvenu Tsimba (Kinshasa, 1967) studied monumental sculpture at the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Kinshasa, obtaining his degree in 1989. He then trained for 6 years with master founders in Kinshasa, Kongo central, and Bandundu. Tsimba works with bronze and scrap metal.

The independent and engaged Congolese artist is deeply attached to human rights, particularly those of the most fragile ‒ mothers and children. He exposes the tragedy of war and the ravages of violence over time. But he is also an advocate of peace and resilience, paying magnificent homage to women and to life.

Today, Freddy Tsimba is known and renowned in Kinshasa and the international art scene, famous for his sculptures made from casings and cartridges and for his machete houses. He has participated in several editions of the Biennale de Dakar (2002, 2006 and 2008) as well as group exhibitions such as The Divine Comedy (2014), Kongo am Rhein (Basel, 2017) and Afriques Capitales (Lille, 2017) under the aegis of Simon Njami.

Freddy Tsimba
Kristof Degrauwe | "The Hidden Mask"
Kristof Degrauwe

A box containing masks forgotten in the depository of the ethnographic museum of the city of Lubumbashi (D.R.Congo) gave rise to the exhibition "The Hidden Mask" by the Belgian artist Kristof Degrauwe. The work resulted in 29 analogous photographs, taken in 1999 and 2000, based on the interpretation made by the photographer's eye in an intuitive way, ignoring the exact meaning of the found objects.

But at the same time the photographer filmed a parade of masks with models dancing and gesticulating. Only in 2021 were the images transformed into digital format, resulting in a short clip that evokes the atmosphere of the original sessions in Congo (year 2000).

"When I started working there, I didn't know much about their precise meaning, but the curator revealed their origins to me. I didn't ask for much information because I wanted to use my intuition in this work," comments the photographer.

Kristof Degrauwe went on a long journey, which lasted a year, into this world of magic and mystery of African psychology. "I really don't imagine the masks as ethnological objects, but as 'intermediaries' to a world that goes beyond our Western analytical approach. Sometimes I was surprised about that creature that suddenly appeared in front of my camera, something between human and animal, something ghostly or coming from outer space! Using the language of contemporary photography and conceptual video, I was privileged to uncover this hidden treasure, from a forgotten museum in the far south of Congo."

Kristof Degrauwe

Kristof Degrauwe

Kristof Degrauwe is a Belgian photographer who spent years abroad (Egypt, Kuwait, DRCongo, Nigeria, Burundi and Brazil). After two series in the Arabian desert (in black and white), he focused on the hidden masks of the Lubumbashi museum. 

The series "The Hidden Mask" (2000) has been shown in several countries. Kristof is also a musician (Daguerro), mantra music producer and Kundalini Yoga teacher (Sat Darshan Singh). He currently lives and works in Luanda.

Kristof Degrauwe
Belgian Development Cooperation


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