The objective of BLAACKBOX is to advocate a varied program that reflects the cutting-edge diversity of contemporary art by artists of African origin.
As believers in the idea that art can contribute to change, the gallery focuses on artistic practices which challenge our perception of the world. By supporting the evolving practices of established and emerging artists, BLAACKBOX puts a priority on highlighting the vantage point of Brussels as a nucleus for artists from Africa and the Diaspora. From there it will establish collaborations beyond the region.
BLAACKBOX was born from the idea that Brussels could become a contemporary kern for African art, through its vantage situation at the crossroads between Paris, London, Köln and Amsterdam and its unique air-gateway to Africa. The international city offers attractive rent, plenty of art studio space, a genuinely multicultural DNA and strong institutional support for the arts and culture.
BLAACKBOX is the common vision of a team of three very singular views on the African art scene, which through its exhibitions plans on recording live African art history.
Klaus Pas was lucky to be born into an important collection of contemporary art from the African continent which was started by his parents out of Switzerland in the mid-80s. As a child he spent long afternoons at his mother’s art gallery which was dedicated to contemporary African art, and based in the centre of Geneva. For the past 10 years, Klaus has taken an active role into the management and expansion of that particularly unique family collection.
With a background in finance and macro-economics, coupled with a Masters Fine Art in Film Screenwriting, Production and Directing, Klaus is the author of several fiction and documentary films, many of which were set on the African continent or thematically linked to issues that relate to Africa. He is also the founder of Kloser Contemporary Art, a gallery promoting the work of established and emerging international contemporary artists.
Klaus’s decided to co-found BLAACKBOX to further share his lifetime passion for contemporary art and history that relates to the African continent by engaging a dialogue with the wider world to nourish a future of diversity.
Thiemoko Claude Diarra was born in Mali in 1974 and lived between Bamako, Brussels and Dakar. His father is a Bamana sculptor and his mother was a nurse from Belgium. As an artist, he sits right at the crossroad of these two cultures, between the sacred art of his ancestors and the heritage of those who advanced Western medical science through the centuries. His most recent expansive project, Anatopia, is an absurd scientific analysis which brings new life into classical African art, far from the usual vectors of anthropological, social or even cultural studies of traditional African art.
Thiemoko Claude Diarra also works as teacher of Arts and IT at E.p.e.p Ixelles. Prior to that, he has worked as a cultural assistant for Jean-Michel Folon, at his Foundation.
His co-founding of BLAACKBOX aims to stimulate an engaging integrative discourse around people, their social dynamics, larger glocal issues, art history and the contemporary history unfolding between Europe and Africa.
Bayunga Kialeuka is a Congolese born narrative painter, curator, and mural artist. He grew up in Miami (USA), where he worked as an artist before moving to other US cities, all the while variably travelling to DRC. His work focuses on themes of social realism, investigating society through the prismatic lenses of economic ecosystems, race and cultural identity.
While in the USA, the artist started working along the lines of classicism and modernism to represent his immediate urban surroundings, focusing on the African American context. From his point of view as a perpetual immigrant, Kialeuka’s work translates how Black America is still subdued by the 3 dimensions of poverty, racism, and communitarianism. In this light, his paintings strive to restore the pride of those he sees as inescapably second-class citizens.
Currently living and working in Brussels and having painted numerous large murals as a way to engage with contemporary history and local society in the USA, Kialeuka is co-founding BLAACKBOX in order to continue his work as a curator and producer of art exhibitions started in the USA, which aims at connecting artistic imaginations with local realities.