And now for something with a little Belgium flair. Joëlle Storet, a Fayetteville-based artist who hails from Brussels, is exploring her colorful roots in the next installment of Thea Foundation’s The Art Department.
Alongside being an accomplished artist having exhibited several works in Fayetteville, Bentonville, Vienna and Berlin, Storet is also the gallery manager of Art Ventures NWA, formerly known as the Fayetteville Underground.
At the quarterly series meetup on Friday, Feb. 1, Storet's exhibition titled "Awakening" will dive into the "deep Afro-Teutonic Synthesis" of the Belgian-born Congolese artist's work and her childhood.
"This particular body of work was heavily inspired by my bi-cultural upbringing," Storet says. "I was born and raised in Europe until I was 12 and am fluent in several languages since age 7. Despite being half-African from my mother’s side, I spent very little time in Zaire. The culturally-ingrained experiences I had amassed over time were constructed by my mother’s presence through language, comic books and film.
"Belgium, being one of the former colonial powers, has one of the largest collections of authentic Central African art in the world at the Royal Museum of Tervuren. I was never able to see in such detail again either in Europe or America."
The opening reception for "Awakening" kicks off at 6:30 p.m. and is $15 at the door. That includes food, an open beer and wine bar and the chance to win an original work by Storet.
The Thea Foundation gallery’s hours are 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday, and it is located at 401 Main St. in North Little Rock. For more information, call (501) 379-9512 or click here.