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New artwork unveiled at Porte de Hal metro station for International Women’s Day

19:12 07/03/2024

Nuits blanches is an inspiring artistic initiative celebrating the contribution of Brussels’ nightshift workforce.

The artwork by French artist Natacha Mercier was inaugurated at Porte de Hal metro station to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Portraying female public transport night workers, the large format digital photo series adorns columns in the station and creates the illusion of virtual paintings.

An initiative of Stib and Brussels Mobility, it aims to raise public awareness about gender equality while underlining women’s contribution to the transport service.

Mercier carried out nocturnal site visits of Stib’s network to discover the multifaceted nature of the work carried out by company employees, from dispatch and tunnel maintenance, to road controls and maintenance workshops.

She photographed individual women during their breaks, asking them to pose in a "serene" attitude, reports RTBF. "The portraits I took sought to capture the quintessence of each person, highlighting their distinctive characteristics and emotions in their night-time workplaces."

For Brussels Mobility public transport infrastructure director Philippe Yenny, Mercier’s work magnified the world of night workers, thereby enabling the public to discover it. "Art is more than just decoration, art gives a soul to our stations," he added.

Brussels minister of mobility Elke Van den Brandt spotlighted the need to make women more visible in public space. She cited the new Annie Cordy tunnel, three footbridges and 13 Stib stops now that had been named after women in the past five years.

The change in public space was not only symbolic, she pointed out.  “STIB and Brussels Mobility work together to increase the feeling of safety and security measures for all users of public spaces and public transport.”

Training staff about sexual harassment on public transport, introducing cameras, additional personnel, safety features like more powerful lighting and family-friendly infrastructure were among the initiatives she listed.

Nuits blanches is on view at Porte de Hal station on metro lines 2 and 6.

Photo: ©Stib/Brussels Mobility

Written by Sarah Crew