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What’s on this week: 15-21 March

12:27 14/03/2019
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

The Affordable Art Fair has become one of Brussels’ most popular art markets because of its down-to-earth approach to buying original art for your home or office. An international event launched in London 11 years ago, the name instantly appealed to those put off by the snobbish attitude of other art markets. While the vibe might be different, the art isn’t: Local and international galleries bring along thousands of paintings, prints, photographs and sculpture, with prices starting at €75. There are also workshops, installations and kids’ activities. 15-17 March, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 88

Tickets are selling fast to The Great Gatsby Immersive Experience, which kicked off this week in a Brussels location to which only ticket holders were privy. You attend a party at the great Jay Gatsby’s mansion to find a drama unfolding around you among some of the other guests. It’s a party and a play, and there are English-language versions by the original British cast. Until 19 May

A concert by British folk music icon Martin Simpson is a rare thing, where storytelling and music combine to make audiences feel like they’ve known him their whole lives. His masterful command of the acoustic and slide guitar as well as the banjo gets jaws dropping as well. 22 March, Muziekpublique, 3 Square du Bastion (Ixelles)

Anuna De Wever, co-founder of Youth for Climate

Those crazy kids are back again, demanding they be allowed a future, in what could be their biggest climate march yet. Youth for Climate is inviting everyone to take part in Global Strike for Future, an international event that will see workers and students striking for the climate in more than 40 cities around the world. In Brussels, the day begins at 10.00 with an open meeting and a screening of the film Tomorrow, moves on to North Station to begin the march at 13.30 and ends at the climate village with speeches, music and general rowdiness. 15 March, across Brussels

Splitting her time between New York and Rotterdam, Ellen Ghallagher is one of the most interesting American contemporary artists working today. Race culture, colonialism and ecology cross-mix in her installations, with the transformation of found art telling stories that are both revealing and unsettling. Don’t miss this special evening at Wiels in which the artist talks in English with Belgian writers Melat Nigussie and Dalilla Hermans. 20 March 20.00, Wiels, Avenue Van Volxem 354 (Forest)

The Banad (Brussels Art Nouveau & Art Deco) festival gets you through the doors of some of those impressive facades you pass on the street every day. Tours of these private homes are just the beginning; there are also talks, workshops and family activities around these historical interiors, their architects and their original residents, much of it in English. 16-31 March, across Brussels

International Chorale of Brussels

No matter what happens on 29 March, International Chorale of Brussels will be singing in harmony the following day. The concert, Folk Songs of Many Lands, celebrates the choir’s very international membership. Since so many of the members are EU or former EU workers, it will be using the event to remind us of solidarity in dark times. The songs will be sung in their original languages – from English to Italian to Bulgarian to Hebrew – and includes ‘Als Ick U Vinde’ (If I Find You) by 16th-century Belgian composer Hubert Waelrant. 30 March 20.00, GC De Kam, Beekstraat 172, Wezembeek-Oppem

Irish expat and artist Helen O’Sullivan is opening her new gallery The Green Door next week. Everyone is invited to the opening reception of the ‘smallest art gallery’ in Brussels in the presence of Irish Ambassador to Belgium Helena Nolan. The opening exhibition is dedicated to fellow expat Tamar Levi’s continuous line portraits. 22 March 18.00-21.00, Rue Murillo 21

Peruse contemporary home décor brought by galleries and the designers themselves, all perfectly at home in Brussels’ beautiful Vanderborght building. Collectibe features all manner of furniture, lighting, artworks and other interior objects for sale over six floors and bathed in natural light. Dreamy. Until 17 March, Rue de l’ Ecuyer 50

The Korean art of jogakbo would seem to be in keeping with the sustainable trends of today: Creating a new object from discarded pieces of fabric. Whether a bedspread, a tablecloth or a lovely tapestry, some of the most beautiful designs are on view as part of Hand-Woven Landscape, an exhibition at the Korean Cultural Center. Until 29 March, Rue de la Régence 4

Opera Vlaanderen in La Juive

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

One of Opera Vlaanderen's  greatest successes of the past decade, La Juive is being revived this month. Having fallen out of favour among contemporary companies, German director Peter Konwitschny’s 2014 version for Opera Vlaanderen won awards, wowed audiences and reminded the opera world what a masterpiece Fromental Halévy wrote in 1835. The grand opera in five acts recounts a story of impossible love between a Christian man and a Jewish woman. (In the original French, with Dutch surtitles) Until 21 March, Antwerp Opera; 29 March to 6 April, Gent Opera

Its location inside a park in rural East Flanders, where its modern white exterior strongly contrasts with the surroundings, make the Dhondt-Dhaenes Museum intriguing enough. But the opening of its Wunderkamer to the public notches up the fun. The house dedicated to the museum’s residence artists is also home to the archives of Jan Hoet. Before his death in 2014, he was a key figure in the development of contemporary art in Belgium, founding Ghent’s Smak museum in 1975 – the first museum dedicated to the genre in the country. Curators have lovingly paired letters, diary entries and other personal effects of Hoet with the works of five artists he promoted and admired. Sundays only until 26 May, Museumlaan 14, Deurle (Sint-Martens-Latem)

Photos: Climate march/(c)Dirk Waem/BELGA, Folk Songs courtesy International Chorale of Brussels, La Juive/(c)Annemie Augustijns

Written by Lisa Bradshaw