Art & Culture

Brussels is an art city…something I love to take advantage of ???? My host mom, Brigitte, is actually a painter herself so she loves to go to all sorts of arts shows and I love to tag along and/or take her recommendations.

About two weeks ago, Brigitte took me to BRAFA, which is an insanely large art fair held every year in an old airplane hangar near Brussels’ port. It was spectacular. There are galleries from all over the world that come and set up little mini exhibitions- it’s kind of like a bunch of ornately-decorated rooms, one for each gallery. The art ranges from Greek and Roman antiquity art to contemporary European sculptors. We had a wonderful time walking around for a few hours and taking it all in. Everything at BRAFA was for sale, and the attendees were certainly what I’d call upper-crust. It was almost more fun to watch these rich couples walking around and picking out 20.000 euro paintings and jewelry for their (what I assume to be) mansions. All impeccably dressed, of course ???? Brigitte had her eye on some Art Nouveau-period silver candelabras, but decided after some contemplation that she’d rather travel the world with those 9.000 euros instead. I agreed with her choice. Though I’m pretty sure she’ll be paying some of the jewelers who were there a visit at their studios!


Next up was last weekend, thanks to a recommendation from Brigitte. She thought that I needed to take a break from schoolwork, which was a suggestion I immediately jumped on. I went to Truc Troc, an art sale held in the Bozar (a fantastic art museum with temporary exhibits). Truc Troc is an art sale like you’ve never seen. Instead of paying for art works with money, people write down things they’re offering to trade on post-it notes and then stick them up next to the art piece they’re “bidding” on. Usually the things offered are things like a week at a vacation home, a special meal, or a gift card to a store or restaurant. However, there are some pretty funny ones…everything from sexual favors to offers of younger siblings (in suspiciously child-like handwriting). That’s definitely why I went, to look at the funny bids. I saw some pretty great ones, including one offering to dress up in a warrior’s head dress and perform a traditional “warrior’s dance.” The art itself was very cool, very modern and with all sorts of media. I went on the last day so it was very crowded and hard to get a good look at everything but what I did see was pretty spectacular!

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