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Bozar board chooses Sophie Lauwers as new director

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM: Sophie Lauwers pictured during the presentation of the expositions 'Paintings from Siena', 'The Yellow Side of Sociality. Italian Artists in Europe. Ars Narrandi in Europe's Gothic Age' in the Bozar Fine Arts museum in Brussels, Tuesday 09 September 2014. (BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND)
05:46 07/10/2021

The board of directors at Bozar, the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, have proposed that the institution’s current director of exhibitions Sophie Lauwers become its new director. The proposal was made to deputy prime minister and minister of federal cultural institutions Sophie Wilmès this week and will be put to the council of ministers for approval in the coming days.

A joint statement from the board of directors and Wilmès said that they hoped that, upon approval, "Lauwers will be able to continue, with the entire management committee, the development and missions of Bozar in a spirit of renewal and continuity".

Lauwers herself told reporters: "I am extremely honoured; I am very moved and very happy with the trust that is given to me. I hope I do not disappoint. It's an institution that I love."

The appointment of Lauwers is the result of an "extremely rigorous" process that allowed, in less than four months, to select the new director from 18 applications. The applicants were selected "on the basis of very precise criteria" established by the board of directors. The remuneration committee, chaired by Isabelle Mazzara, led the procedure, with the support of an external recruitment office.

Mazzara said that Lauwers had "all the qualities necessary to carry out her new mission. She also has an excellent knowledge of the Bozar institution thanks to her position as director of exhibitions since 2011, which will allow her to perfectly analyse the current situation but also to propose a strong vision for the future of the institution with its specificities, a vision that consists in putting the arts at the centre of the debate."

Wilmès said: "I look forward to working in the future with Sophie Lauwers, whose qualities are recognised inside and outside the Palais des Beaux-Arts". She said the appointment would "also mark a renewal of Bozar".

"A new board of directors, and new personalities have arrived,” she added. “There is diversity in the profiles, a good balance between men and women within the institution. Bozar can now project itself into the future and move forward in the construction of a quality cultural and artistic project. Bozar will continue its development to strengthen itself as an asset in the cultural influence of Belgium and its capital, Brussels."

The appointment of Lauwers will end a process which began with the completion of her predecessor Paul Dujardin's mandate as director-general at the end of 2019. Since then, the role has been carried out by Bozar’s management committee.

Written by Nick Amies