What to see in Brussels during EUROPALIA 2017

Since 1969, the EUROPALIA arts biennial invites you to discover the art and culture of a specific guest country. From 10 October 2017 until 21 January 2018, it is Indonesia’s turn to be in the spotlights. Well beyond the clichés of paradisiacal beaches and majestic temples, this country is now in full economical and artistic bloom.


The festival doesn’t limit itself to a single genre or discipline. Archaeology, ancient and contemporary art, classical and modern music, theater, film and dance: in the EUROPALIA program, there’s something for everybody to enjoy! Here’s a handy overview of what to see and do in Brussels during EUROPALIA 2017:

Ancestors & Rituals – 11/10/2017 > 14/01/2018 – BOZAR

From Sumatra to Java, from the Moluccas to Papua: ancestors play an important role in Indonesia. This expo at BOZAR portrays the rich diversity, power and poetry in the worship of ancestors. It explores the importance of traditions and rites in contemporary society. In cooperation with the National Museum in Jakarta and with collections from throughout the archipelago, EUROPALIA has brought together precious archaeological, ethnographical and contemporary treasures that haven’t been exhibited ever before.

Power and other things. Indonesia & Art (1835-now) – 18/10/2017 > 21/01/2018 – BOZAR

‘Power and other things’ at BOZAR takes you on a journey through Indonesia’s turbulent history, from the Dutch colony and Japanese occupation until today. Through the eyes of 4 artists from the 19th and 20th century, you see how the arts gradually evolved. In the work of contemporary artists such as Agung Kurniawan, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Ana Torfs and many others you discover how trade, culture, religion and war are inextricably linked in Indonesia.

Indian party – 21/10/2017 – Les Brigittines

On Sunday 21 October, you can dance on Indonesian rock ‘n roll at Les Brigittines. The Flower Girls pay a tribute to Dara Puspita, an all-female Indonesian pop-rock band from the 1960s. They’ll bring the band’s biggest hits with the same raw and explosive energy during an Indian party in Brussels!

Moondog for Gamelan – 26/10/2017 – Ancienne Belgique

The American eccentric Moondog will always be remembered as ‘The Viking of 6th Avenue’. This was the place in Manhattan where he always stood busking, dressed in Viking attire. It was his form of protest against Christianity, a religion he had rejected in his teens but that people often associated him with due to his long white hair and beard. Moondog’s compositions are often regarded as ‘sketches’ but those who dig deeper recognize a great composer. ‘Moondog For Gamelan’ is a commissioned work in assignment to EUROPALIA, where the work of Moondog is the focus point and the gamelan is taken out of its traditional context. Iwan Gunawan (and his ensemble Kyai Fatahillah) and Stefan Lakatos bring Moondog-compositions on gamelans, especially designed for this project.

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