The Kingdom is a series of nine videos portraying today's North American urban landscape by looking at the large Belgian community living in the Canadian tobacco belt. During 20th century this region was subject to heavy European immigration, attracting many Flemish immigrants in particular who settled as tobacco farmers.
Over the course of sunset each video shows one particular place in a static shot, capturing the traces of that Belgian presence and the cultural influence of migration in general. We see places of habitation, leisure, devotion, agriculture and local economy populated with Canadian people of European descent, Amish, Mexican Mennonites, and Mexican and Caribbean seasonal workers. While time passes and light changes, forms become more and more abstract and invisible until total darkness is reached. Identity and meaning shift, and gradually fade over time. The ambiguous moment between day and night created by the monochrome yellow filter evokes a feeling of nostalgia. It installs a rather mental and introspective space making abstraction of reality. Erasing the other colours turns the various explicit and one-dimensional references of national identity appearing in the videos into universal and multifaceted symbols of identity. Not coincidentally the black and yellow also hint at the colours of the Flemish nationalist movement. A revival of that movement in today's Belgium coincides with the fading of Belgian identity in Canada as the first generation of immigrants is disappearing and younger generations have assimilated to the New World.
The Kingdom fits in a larger research project on migration, national identity, colonialism and land focussing on the Belgian immigrants in Southwestern Ontario which was presented in the solo exhibition This land is my land. This land is your land.

  • Kleursysteem PAL
  • Kleur col.
  • Jaar 2015
  • Kunstenaars