PalimpsestMatthias De Groof

In 2013, the Royal Museum for Central Africa closes for renovation. Not only the building and the museum cabinets are in need of renewal: the spirit of the museum has to be brought into this century. In COMRAF, a board of advisers, the process of decolonization leads to fierce discussions.

While the tall statue of Leopold II is being disassembled, his spirit roams through the corridors and halls of the museum. The renovation of the Museum for Central Africa is an opportunity to modernize the existence and mission of the museum. The stuffed animals, the traditional masks and the dusted artefacts have to give way to a more complete, modern view of Africa. The museum calls on experts and establishes consultations with delegates from African organizations that have united in a structure set up for that purpose, COMRAF. When exhibiting minerals from Congolese soil, a scientific explanation no longer cuts it. We also need to consider the horrible circumstances in which those raw materials were mined and the disruptive consequences for Congolese society. But in order to completely pry away the majestic building from its colonial identity, more fundamental questions need to be asked. Who is looking at who? And whose story is being told here?

Other cultures Africa Portret Dutch spoken or subtitled

Vertoond op editie(s) 2019
Screened at edition(s) 2019


Directed by Matthias De Groof
2019 69 min.
Frans, Nederlands
Subtitles: Dutch


Belgian selection


Matthias De Groof


Daniel De Valck

Production company

Cobra Films


Matthias De Groof


Sebastien Demeffe


Ernst Reijseger

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