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What’s on this week: 18-24 November

14:39 17/11/2022
Feel the beat in a feast of music events lined up over the coming week, as well as photography, film and literature

While it’s easy to focus on the differences between Europe and the Arab world, the Halaqat festival at Bozar is looking for connections. Halaqat means links and circles, and the series of events works to bridge the distance emotionally and geographically through exhibitions, talks, concerts and especially cinema. This week sees the opening of an exhibition of birdsong flowing from empty cages by Brussels-based artist Oussama Tabti and a performance by Soukaina Joual that explores how the notions of witchcraft and superstition affect the representation of women. Until 31 January, Rue Ravenstein 23


Classical music orchestras and festival have long been trying to court new audiences through re-inventing their styles and images. Attracting people with diverse ethnic backgrounds continues to be a struggle, not helped by the lack of diversity in the orchestras themselves. Say hello to Chineke!, the first professional orchestra in Europe made up exclusively of black and ethnically diverse classical musicians. Brussels is the second stop on their much-anticipated tour of Europe. 19 November 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Ars Musica Big Science

One of the world’s biggest international contemporary music celebrations, Ars Musica explores the intriguing topic of science in its 32nd edition. The festival’s guest of honour is the American avant-garde musician and composer Laurie Anderson, whose studio album Big Science is celebrating its 40th anniversary. A programme highlight is the Marathon Family Event at the Brigittines Chapel on 20 November, with four events that expose young music lovers and their families to the sounds of nature, science and music. 18 November to 2 December, multiple venues in Brussels (plus Namur and Mons)

House of European History

To celebrate World Children’s Day, the House of European History invites families to discover The adventures of Tedis the teddy bear. Tedi’s history – emigration, war, refugee camps and travel - are recounted by new owner Vita Terauda, followed by an opportunity to share experiences and self-guided hidden treasure trail around the museum’s collection. The event is perfect for children aged 10 and up who, can bring along their own teddy or another special object (Eng/Fr/NL). 20 November, 13.00

Art Photo Brut

Photo Brut BXL is a multidisciplinary project that finally turns the spotlight on self-taught photographers. Eight exhibitions – in four venues – enter into dialogue with and are inspired by French filmmaker Bruno Decharme and his substantial collection of art brut. Brussels-based Spanish artist Angel Vergara also tests boundaries by exploring the power of the image via performances, videos, installations, paintings, drawings and talks. 24 November-19 March, CENTRALE for contemporary art, Botanique, Arts & Marges, Tiny Gallery


Cinematek’s eclectic archive takes centre stage in Restored, a festival screening 28 meticulously-restored films, dating from the 1920s to the 2000s, and originating from around the world. Founded in 1938, the city-centre library and cosy cinema is exceptional for its wide range of films, from shorts and features to documentaries. Until 20 November, Rue Baron Horta 9

Brussels Tattoo FestivalTour & Taxis is hosting the International Tattoo Convention this Friday. So if anyone wants to get a stylish tattoo, then this convention is the perfect place. Music, unique designs from professional tattoo artists will provide the optimal experience for first timers and regulars who want their tattoos done right. The event also offers a skateboarding area, music and workshops. 18 November, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86C

United Music of Brussels (c)Kris Schillemans

Follow the sounds from one corner of the centre to the other during United Music of Brussels, a festival of free, intimate concerts in halls, galleries and public spaces. You’ll find chamber music, tango, folks, brass and a smidgen of electroacoustic clarinet in spots like the Royal Galleries, and shops in the Sablon and Bozar, just to name a few. 24-26 November, across central Brussels

Rachel Cusk ©Siemon Scamell-Katz

“One of the smartest writers alive”, “incapable of a flat word” and “one of the greatest living novelists” are just a few ways journalists have described novelist Rachel Cusk. The Canadian-born British author of 15 books, including The Country Life, The Outline Trilogy and – most recently – Second Place, she has utterly awed critics, courted controversy and introduced what many have called a new style of literature since debuting with Saving Agnes nearly 30 years ago. Cusk is one of the highlights of this year’s Meet the Writer series at Bozar. 24 November 19.30, Rue Ravenstein 23


Get ready for a rock musical like no other, says BLOC, the capital’s largest amateur musical theatre company (in rehearsal above). For its annual blockbuster, it’s staging the legendary musical CHESS accompanied by a full orchestra. With music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA and lyrics by Tim Rice, it’s a dramatic tale about a confrontation between Soviet and American chess masters for the world  crown set against the backdrop of the cold war. There’s also unexpected romances and political intrigue to the tunes of the international hit singles, I Know Him So Well, One Night In Bangkok, and Heaven Help my Heart. 24-27 November, Auderghem Cultural Centre, Boulevard du Souverain 183

The Viper's Rhythm Band©Elsa Verhoeven

The 8th edition of the River Jazz Festival boasts 14 concerts spread across three amazing venues. Longstanding fans and newcomers are sure to enjoy themselves with the variety of talent that’s on display. A Scottish night, a swing party, big band music and The Viper's Rhythm Band (pictured) all feature in the eclectic programme. Drinks, food and a jazzy ambiance all add to the experience during this illustrious event, staged at Espace Senghor, Théâtre Marni and the Jazz Station. 24 November-10 December, multiple venues


Book now Christmas markets in Germany are loved far and wide for their special and authentic atmosphere, and the Aachen Christmas Market is no exception. Join the Brussels Women's Club for a full-day trip of Christmas shopping on 15 December. Wander around at your leisure, enjoy mulled wine, and see the sights. Everyone welcome! Register before 1 December to secure your seats.


Antica Namur

Belgium is reputed to be a country of collectors: one reason why this leading antique fair attracts exhibitors and visitors from beyond its borders. Antica Namur is the annual rendezvous for lovers of fine arts, furniture, objects and jewellery, specialising in the decorative arts of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Some 115 galleries from Belgium and abroad, including a younger generation of professionals, show off their finest works for the 45th edition of this most reputable of gatherings. 19-27 November, Namur Expo, Avenue Sergent Vrithoff 2, Namur

Sashuis ©Femke den Hollander

The Sashuis has recently opened in Bruges, a beautifully located shop dedicated to locally produced crafts of all sorts, from soap to glassware to biscuits. It’s also a community and atelier, with the public invited to take part in workshops, talks and exhibitions. You’ll also find a map here for a walk that takes you along key sites for craftspeople in the Bruges of yesteryear, as well as today. Wijngaardplein 14, Bruges

Night of the Proms

There are still a smattering of tickets left for Night of the Proms, the massive annual concert that mixes classical with pop, nostalgia with contemporary. This year’s event features Kool & the Gang, Nik Kershaw and Amy Macdonald, among others, performing their hits against a symphonic and choral soundscape. Unique and memorable. 18-19 November, Sportpaleis, Schijnpoortweg 119, Antwerp

Festval des Egalités

The first Festival des Egalités in Namur promises four days of artistic festivities set on changing the mentality around stereotypes. A daring yet highly-accessible programme encompasses exhibitions, performances, concerts, film and talks. Staged at Le Delta, the Grand Manaège and the Centre d’Action Laïque, there’s also screenings, a puppet show and workshops for younger audiences. 17-20 November, multiple venues, Namur

Pol Bury Va et vient

Pol Bury is one of Belgium’s most prolific artists who achieved international fame for his hydraulically driven sculptures; many are dotted around public spaces in Brussels. Gathering some 250 works – mainly prints – the exhibition Va-et-vient shines a light for the first time on the multidisciplinary artist’s long-standing relationship with this medium, as well as his inventiveness and his fascination for geometry. The show, curated by Véronique Blondeel and Christophe Veys, forms part of series of events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the local artist’s birth. Until 12 March, Centre de la Gravure, Rue des Amours 10, La Louvière (Hainaut)

Photos: Ars Musica Marathon Family Event © Xavier Cauchy; United Music of Brussels © Kris Schillemans; Rachel Cusk ©Siemon Scamell-Katz; The Viper's Rhythm Band © Elsa Verhoeven; © Antica-namur-c-whitevision; Sashuis © Femke den Hollander


Written by Sarah Crew, Lisa Bradshaw, Louis Kernoa-Pascoe