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A look at research

Did you know that the MAS preserves a treasure of cultural and historical artefacts from Congo? This collection, with nearly 5,000 diverse cultural objects, tells the story of Congo from before the colonial period to the present day. But how did these valuable objects actually end up in Antwerp? That is exactly what the MAS staff are investigating, in close cooperation with Congolese colleagues.

    Tuesday 28 May 2024 until Sunday 13 October 2024 from 10:00 to 17:00

The Congolese collection kept in the MAS still has many blind spots: How did cultural objects disappear from Congolese communities? Did this happen legitimately or was it accompanied by violence or coercion? And what do they mean to them today? With this provenance research, the MAS tries to answer those questions.

From 28 May to 13 October 2024, we invite you to come and see its first results in the last room of the Visible Storage (+2). Delve into the history of three key pieces studied, from their creation in Congo to their inclusion in an Antwerp museum. Learn about the circumstances in which they were obtained and discover the challenges of provenance research.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this project is the collaboration with researchers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, led by Prof. Dr. Donatien Dibwe dia Mwembu (Université de Lubumbashi). They collected new oral testimonies about the objects. By juxtaposing these Congolese memories with information from archives and historical publications, the MAS gained a deeper insight into the long history of these cultural artefacts.

The MAS sees provenance research not only as a way of trying to fill in blind spots in the collection, but also as an opportunity to work more closely with the Belgo-Congolese diaspora and communities in Congo itself. Among other things, you can see a video recording of an artistic performance in the Visible Storage. This was made on the initiative of the WAZA arts centre in Lubumbashi.

Be sure to keep an eye on our website for the final report later this year.

See also

Provenance research of the Congo collection

The MAS preserves culturally and historically sensitive Congolese heritage. In what circumstances did this collection of approximately 5,000 cultural objects come into being? A two-year research project will map this out more clearly.

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