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SHELTERS

Expo July - August 2021

@ Galerie Verbeeck Van Dyck Antwerp

For inquiries about buying prints contact by mail.

Over the past few years, Michiel Robberecht has lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea to write and work on his films. During his stays he immersed himself in the world his stories are set using photography as an important writing tool.

His pictures emerge out of spontaneous experiences and encounters with friends and what people and places reveal to him. But often the scene’s true nature is only unveiled after its captured. A friend becomes a character, a barber shop a mystic refuge and a passer-by a ghost. These mirages feed Robberecht with stories he uses in his films and writings.

Shelters gathers the images and stories found in a quest for connection through imagination. Consciously avoiding snapshots of strangers and rather portraying the life of friends and actors, the pictures are born in between documentary and fiction. They are like shelters that can only exist in the mystic space between hiding and revealing.

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Lake Langano, Ethiopia            2021

I have always been aware of the danger of exoticism. By using photography as an important writing tool, it has been a quest to look for a language that could surpass that but that would still include my own universe, as well as a receptive attitude towards that what surrounds me. And if there’s one thing I have learned is that it is key to open yourself up. Being able to let your surroundings to give things to you rather than you forcing your gaze upon them. When I saw this boy and his donkey at the lake something strong happened. These two could have been actors of an image we already know; the so-called “poor” village boy gathering water with his donkey. Although, I decided to wait and to spend some time with them for something to happen, I didn’t know what. And then this; one moment, one click: the mysterious boy became a hero in his own narrative and the donkey his guardian angel that by looking straight into my camera held power over my gaze.

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“6:25 PM, invited for prayer."

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“Portrait of Hayat at her home."

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“They wanted to show me the old mosque. They said it was built when the ancient tree once gave light at night.”

Harar, Ethiopia            2021

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“They had become invisible.”                                           Tigray Region, Ethiopia, 2019

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“She told me she was invisible.”                                      Tigray Region, Ethiopia, 2019

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“He told me that on top of the mountain, you could see how the train reached all the way to the edge of the world.”                                                             Durfo, Eritrea, 2019

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““We looked. Gabi market in the Holy city of Axum.””                                                                                                                                                             Axum, Ethiopia, 2019

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“Three cloaked figures. On their way home.”                                                                                                                                                                          Asmara, Eritrea, 2019

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“They were three but their dreams are many.”                            Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019

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“A car. Ayat Condominium.”                                                                                  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2020

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“Two cloaked figures. On their way home.”                                                                                                                                                                          Dire Dawa, Eritrea, 2021

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"A shirt, A Landscape."                                                                                                                                                                         Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019

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“Easter night, Enda Mariam Cathedral.”                                                                         Asmara, Eritrea, 2019

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“Salon de Coiffure Jerusalem”                                                                                                 Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019

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“On the road to the sea; he found a forest that didn’t make any sound at night.”                       Boma, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019

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"Ngbaka series" 

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2019

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“Ubangi Series”                                                            Equatorial Rainforest, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2015

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“Ubangi Series”                                                            Equatorial Rainforest, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2015

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“Silent prayers in Saint Urael Church.”                                                                                                                                                                           Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2020