Colonial Legacy in Belgium

In the streets of Brussels, the colonial past is hidden in plain sight. The many street names and monuments honouring personalities, places and events linked to colonial history are so present that they have become almost invisible.

On May 25, 2020, on the other side of the Atlantic, George Floyd died at the hands of a white policeman. This umpteenth tragedy led to a wave of protests around the world, including in Brussels on 7th June 2020. More  than 10,000 people gathered in his honour, as well as to demonstrate against Belgium’s own police brutality and to denounce the racism still present in this country.

In photographing vandalized — and decorated — monuments, the former domain of Leopold II or Brussels’ Black Lives Matter protest, John Vink confronts the contemporary debates protesting the country’s dark colonial past.

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