Notes on imagining Afropea

Charl Landvreugd


The title of this article refers to a form of imagining that takes place from a personal and artistic subject position. Imagining, it is assumed, is always a given feature of creativity and inevitably culturally hybrid. In Landvreugd’s practice as an artist, he complements his visual work by exploring a sense of belonging, processes of identification and self-identification, and by positing the significance of his creative endeavours in relation to that of his peers. The purpose of this article is to tease out the relevant artistic subject positions that may be taken by artists in a European setting, specifically in the Netherlands. Pushing the boundaries that result from historical circumstances, the discussion shows that turning toward the imagination is a means to explore how distinct cultures are coalescing, in order to model a new artistic environment that lies beyond an older critical concern with the processes of representation. Dutch artists of the African diaspora, such as Landvreugd, are producing works shaped by different cultural heritages and media cultures. Their creative explorations have resulted in new subjectivities that are diasporic and belong to a wider transatlantic Afro community and yet, at the same time, have a direct bearing on the Netherlands. The changing nature of cultural difference implied in such a process constitutes a field of conceptualisation that may be described under the provisional heading of ‘Afropea’.

Keywords: Afro-Europe, Afro-Dutch, Afropea, art, subjectivity, diaspora, difference

Full text: OAJ_issue5_landvreugd_final_v2 (PDF 1.2 MB).


Biographical note
Charl Landvreugd studied fine art and art history at Goldsmiths, University of London. As a Fulbright Fellow, he obtained an MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies at Columbia University, New York. He is the recipient of several scholarships and grants, and is currently a doctoral student at London’s Royal College of Art, in the field of curating contemporary art. He uses sculpture, performance, installation, video, curating and writing to develop his research into African diaspora aesthetics in continental Europe and specifically the Netherlands.