Congo en vitrine. Art africain, muséologie et politique. Les musées de Kinshasa et de Tervuren

Book presentation with Sarah Van Beurden


Sarah Van Beurden & Anne Wetsi Mpoma

What is the history linking the Institut des Musées nationaux du Zaire/Congo and the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Belgium? And how did the study and display of African art play a role in the construction of cultural identity and political legitimacy in the late colonial and postcolonial era in Congo?  In Congo en vitrine historian Sarah Van Beurden examines how the dynamics of decolonization played out in the museum world and in the field of international heritage conservation. She casts light on the long history of debates about restitution.



In this MuseumTalk, Sarah Van Beurden will present her book, which makes a remarkable contribution to the current debate around the decolonization of museums, restitution and cultural policy before and after the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The MuseumTalk will be hosted by Anne Wetsi Mpoma.


About the speakers

  • Sarah Van Beurden is Belgian and earned her bachelor’s degree in history from KU Leuven and her Ph.D in history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is now associate professor of History and African Studies at the Ohio State University. She is a member of the Expert Group of the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Colonial Past.
  • Anne Wetsi Mpoma is an art historian, independent curator and decolonial thinker. In October 2019, she founded the Wetsi Art Gallery, a space whose starting point is the lack of visibility suffered by certain categories of artists. The space is entirely dedicated to the revaluation of artistic productions of the African diaspora in a broad sense. From 2014 to 2017, she was part of the group of experts from the African diaspora consulted by the AfricaMuseum for the selection of objects for the museum’s new permanent exhibition. She is also a member of the group of experts who drafted the first report of the federal parliamentary commission in charge of researching the Belgian colonial past.



Join us each month for exciting talks with experts, scientists and artists!

> All MuseumTalks


1 pm


about 2 hours
in French

Free, but registration is mandatory.