Affiche ocre, présentant le dessin d’un bateau volant et d’un phare.
The poster of the 2019 Semana Belga in Havana.

November: a month of exchanges between Brussels and Havana

In 2019, the month of November was again punctuated with plenty of fruitful exchanges between the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) and the City of Havana.

During the first two weeks of November, the BCR’s colours were proudly defended during the Semana Belga in the Cuban capital. At the same time, the Halles Saint-Géry in Brussels hosted an exhibition of work by young Cuban photographers. Later that month, the Brussels Minister-Present received the Cuban minister for Culture.


Brussels in Havana…

It’s become a bit of a tradition: in early November, Havana puts Brussels in the spotlight throughout the city and 2019 was no different in this respect. From 1 until 14 November, the Semana Belga – originally a week, but now two weeks – showcased the work of several Brussels artists.

This year, the Brussels-Capital Region chose to emphasise diversity. The Autrique House launched its new journal, titled Kronikas, with contributions by comic book artists from Brussels, Algiers, Havana and Moscow, on the theme of heritage. The Brussels poet Sylvie Godefroid combined her work with the works of Cuban visual artists. And finally, the not-for-profit organisation Meta-Morphosis put Brussels and Cuban heritage in the limelight, with a project focussing on recycling, among others.

Photo 1 : Participants standing around a display table. – Photo 2 : Jehanne Roccas, standing facing a microphone, flanked by two people.
The opening of Sylvie Godefroid’s poetry exhibition, which was attended by H.E. Jehanne Roccas, Ambassador of Belgium to Cuba.
The protagonists are pictured standing around a table.
Étienne Schréder and the Kronikas project.
Work made using tyres in various colours.
The Meta-Morphosis project, which focused on recycling.

The Brussels participation was enhanced this year, in the light of the celebration of a double anniversary: the 20th anniversary of the cooperation between the Brussels-Capital Region and the Cuban capital, and the 500th anniversary of the foundation of Havana.


… And Havana in Brussels

Havana was also well represented in Brussels last November.

From 6 till 29 November, the Halles Saint-Géry hosted an exhibition of work by Cuban photographers in the framework of the Expérience Photographique Internationale des Monuments (EPIM, International Photo Experience of Monuments) and the relations between the BCR and Havana on the cultural heritage level. The exhibition, which showcased the winning submissions by youngsters from Havana, focused their personal and creative take on heritage in Cuba.

Portrait of a Cuban man smoking a cigar, surrounded by a black frame and photos of Cuba.
The poster of the EPIM Havana exhibition in Halles Saint-Géry.
The protagonists are pictured standing, greeting each other.
Rudi Vervoort, Minister-President of the BCR, greets Alpidio Alonso Grau, the Cuban Minister for Culture, in the presence of Mirtha Maria Hormilla Castro, the Cuban Ambassador to Belgium and Guy Vanhengel, the first Vice-President of the Brussels Parliament.

Finally, on 21 November, Alpidio Alonso Grau, the Cuban Minister for Culture, took advantage of his visit to Europe to meet with Rudi Vervoort, the Minister-President of the BCR, and Guy Vanhengel, the first Vice-President of the Brussels Parliament and the former Minister for External Relations of the BCR. The participants discussed the excellent relations between the Brussels-Capital Region and the City of Havana for over 20 years and expressed the wish that these exchanges might continue.