Remie Vanderhaegen:

new insights and influences

new insights and influences

I am incredibly grateful for the residency experience I had, which was provided by Saffca. The residency took place in Johannesburg, at Gallery Momo, who’s support was instrumental in my journey. They ensured I was well-accommodated, helped me navigate the local environment, and provided me with a fully equipped studio along with assistance in acquiring the necessary materials.

So far I’m already able to make a statement about this young experience. The residency in South Africa has been profoundly influential for me as an artist. It extended beyond mere practical studio work and delved deeply into conceptual and cultural exploration. Being in South Africa, a democracy as old as me, with a rich and tumultuous history, offered a unique context that was alienating yet highly enlightening. The country’s ongoing discourse on issues such as racism and apartheid and colonialism, which are often more theoretical than practical discussions in the West, are very much lived realities there.

For a Western/ European artist like myself, experiencing South Africa’s culture first-hand helped recalibrate my world vision. Our perspectives in the West are often blinded and naïve, unaware of the privilege that we inherit from imperialism and colonial times.

South Africa, is shaped by a globalized and neo-liberal society that is diverse yet fragmented. Diverse ethnic groups reclaim lost heritage, spirituality, and land they belong to while theorizing new concepts and discourse to empower blackness and its historical condition. Its ongoing process of healing from a long history of suffering and trauma provided a contrasting backdrop that was both challenging and enriching.

Engaging in dialogues with the people, artists, writers, and thinkers of South Africa, understanding the practical legacy of apartheid, and observing how individuals and communities are working to overcome their past and heal their traumas have deeply influenced my conceptual framework. This residency was less about producing art and more about providing the time and space to critically reflect on art-making itself. It allowed me to reassess my environment in Brussels, Belgium, and Europe, and to reframe my artistic practices within a broader, more global context.

The residency has been a transformative experience, offering me new insights and influences. It has reshaped my vision and allowed me to put my ideas into practice within a society that is still grappling with its history. I am truly grateful for this opportunity to grow as an artist and to broaden my understanding of the world and the diverse approaches to art within it. I am sure that this will have a lasting impact

Areas: South Africa

Venues: Gallery Momo