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What’s on this week: 16-22 April

16:15 15/04/2021
Our pick of the best activities in and around Brussels – and online – for the coming week

The diverse and lively Balkan Trafik! festival must go digital this year, which it does online but also via its own app. The app even comes with extras, like a documentary series and news feeds from Balkan states. Livestreamed concerts figure heavily in Balkan Trafik!, but there are also exhibitions, street art and debates on issues such as freedom of expression and the environment. 21-25 April

Students and recent graduates of the Brussels Conservatory and performance arts school across Belgium come together for Courants d’airs, a free festival of new works. Choose from an array of productions, including dance, classical music, visual arts and jazz. 21 April to 2 May, online

Since museums are open, Brussels Museum Nocturnes can go ahead this year. The programme has been adapted, but there’s still a lot on offer as 54 museums in the capital stay open late on Thursday evenings. Special guided tours, a peek behind the scenes (including in storage areas of collections, the size of which might blow you away) and a number of open-air activities provide entertainment for the whole family. 22 April to 10 June, across Brussels

 A painting by Johnny Warangkula Tjupurrula

Collections of Australian aboriginal art tends to focus on its anthropological origins. But the Fine Arts Museum turned to contemporary artists for the Aboriginalities exhibition. Like their ancestors, they use art as a window into spirituality, telling the story of the creation of the world but also conveying the cultural, social and economic tragedies with which they have long been faced. Until 1 August, Rue de la Régence 3

Cinematek continues its FacebookLive programme – silent films with live piano accompaniment – with Betta the Gypsy. The 48-minute Welsh film from 1918 is a variation on the opera Carmen and has been fully restored by the Belgian film institute. 22 April 15.00

Censorship of literature is well known, and comic strips were no exception. The exhibition Blistering Barnacles at Bozar show how strip artists have been hindered by publishers, sometimes worried about the public’s response to sex and violence – but also more recently, like when Lucky Luke illustrators were instructed to draw the cowboy without his characteristic cigarette. 16 April to 16 May, Rue Ravenstein 23

 Film still from The Blue Girl

The Mooov Film Festival features cinema focused on social issues, be it poverty, human rights or the environment. Themes this year include Iranian cinema (check out Firouzeh Khosrovani’s award-winning documentary on a youth cut short by the Iranian revolution or The Blue Girl, in which village children head into the mountains to find enough space for a football pitch) and ‘a mother’s love’ (Costa Rica’s Aurora being a highlight). 20 April to 3 May, online

The Argos Center for Art and Media once again puts new ideas into our head – captioning videos as an art in itself. The web-based platform Activating Captions presents the works of artists who take an active approach to adding text to audio-visual artworks. Captioning is usually used as a medium that straightforwardly communicates information. But in the hands of these artists, it takes on a multi-layered, generative guise for critical, poetic and humorous interventions. Until 21 June

 A work by Freddy Tsimba

Artist Freddy Tsimba creates a dialogue between his work and the collection at the Africa Museum. Mabele eleki lola! The Earth, Brighter than Paradise is a marvellous look at how contemporary Congo and its art react to a valuable collection of African artefacts – largely obtained through colonialism. Until 15 August, Leuvensesteenweg 13, Tervuren


So far, 2021 hasn’t been much better than annus horribilis 2020. But Leuven Mindgate is looking to the future during the And& Leuven Festival, in which bright and visionary minds all over the world discuss the big issues of our times, and consider how to turn global crises into opportunities. Join the conference to choose among more than 100 talks from around the globe. Most of this is online, of course, but there are audio-visual experiences in Leuven. 20-22 April

The Naft arts festival in Sint-Niklaas brings together 18 local and international artists, who create public interventions and performances as well as present a group show in the Zwijgershoek exhibition space. 22 April to 2 May, across Sint-Niklaas (East Flanders)

Photos: Mooov, Blue Girl ©IR Image; Aboriginalities ©Johnny-Warangkula-Tjupurrula