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New art in the metro and new stop names to mark international women’s day

New art in the metro and new stop names to mark international women’s day

8 March was international women’s day.  It’s an event the Brussels local transport
company MIVB and the Brussels mobility agency were keen to celebrate. Anthea
Missy has been asked to create a new fresco in the Bockstael metro station,
while several bus stops are changing name and new ones are set to honour deserving

Art is one of the great joys of the
Brussels metro and pre-metro system, where trams still run in the anticipation
that one day these may become metro carriages. 
You can see great modern art in many stations and much of the work has
been done by female artists.  There’s ‘Voûtes
Flexibles’, four identical constructions with steel cables at the Veeweyde station
created by Tapta. She is an artist keen to employ simple techniques often using
wall coverings and jute. It’s often possible to enter her monumental works that
include cupolas and tents.

Berlinde De Bruyckere (c) Mirjam Devriendt

‘Four Sizes Available See Over’ is a work by the internationally celebrated Flemish artist Berlinde De Bruyckere that you can admire at the Simonis metro station. It’s a work made of multicoloured cement tiles applied to the wall.  The designs on the tiles form a repetitive motif that makes us think of tiles, carpets or wallpaper.  Ghent-born Berlinde De Bruyckere is famous for her sculptures and drawings.  Berlinde’s works often require considerable physical work.  Her later works include a clear feminine aspect.  She says it’s the artist’s job to encourage people to think but without shocking them!

To mark international women’s day the MIVB
has commissioned Anthea Missy to create a new work of art in the Bockstael
metro station.  The creation of this work
was designed as a performance in which members of the travelling public could
take an active role.  Missy is taking
five days to paint the fresco and the public are able to watch how this is done
till Sunday evening! The fresco will remain at the station for at least a year
before it is auctioned.  The cash raised
will go to an organisation defending women’s rights.  Brussels Mobility and the MIVB plan to repeat
this experience in coming years too!

fotografie peter Hilz (C)

The local transport company earlier announced plans to honour more women in the names of bus and tram stops and metro stations.  The creation of new tram and bus lines led to thirteen new names for stops honouring women.  This is a development the MIVB is keen to continue in 2023 and 2024.  Five new ‘female stops’ will be added soon.  The ‘Invaliden’ stop on bus line 72 is being renamed ‘Ginette Javaux’.

Ginette Javaux was a Belgian painter born in Brussels in 1915.  Nudes, portraits and  landscapes feature prominently in her expressionist works.

On line 43 the ‘Pasteur’ stop is being renamed ‘Jacqueline Harpman’.  Jacqueline Harpman was a Belgian author born in Etterbeek and writing in French.  “I Who Have Never Known Men” was her first work to be published in English.

On bus line 76 the Ring 0 stop is being renamed ‘Henriette Lauwers’.  Henriette Lauwers founded the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of the Seven Graces, whose convent once stood near the stop. Two new stops are getting ‘female names’ too: Akarova after the Belgian dancer, choreographer and artist born in Elsene in 1904.  Her real name was Marguerite Acarin and she is known as the ‘Belgian Isadora Duncan’. A second stop is being named after Juliette Wytsman, the Belgian impressionist painter.  Her impressionist works feature landscapes and gardens and are included in several Belgian museum collections.

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