Starting in the summer of 2017, M is giving one of its museum rooms to the public. A number of people from Leuven with migration backgrounds came together to organize this exhibition: they selected works from the M Collection that are somehow associated with their own stories. They also contributed to the way these artworks are presented to the museum visitors. This year’s guests: Blanca, Akkacha, Gloria, Jing, Iwona, Liza, Julia and Karen.

The eight participants welcome you to the exhibition room personally in the wall text. You will also see a shoe rack with eastern slippers and a guestbook on the wall. In the middle of the space, you can sit down on a stool. The entire room exudes an atmosphere of hospitality. And that is precisely the point. There are two big projection screens on each side of the room. On the first screen, the participants provide more information. They each chose objects from the M Collection that they associate with hospitality. In the video, they tell the story behind their choice.

My father always made sure there was one empty chair at the table. This place was even laid with a plate and cutlery, always! Because you never know when somebody might arrive, and if somebody did arrive, they should be able to sit down for dinner. That is why I chose Chaises génétiques (1964) by Jacques Lizène from the Cera Collection at M.

While the participants tell their story, the video on the opposite wall shows you the objects that they are talking about. The camera zooms in with a searching look. We see a stained-glass window of Mary Magdalene washing the feet of Christ, which inspired the Mexican Blanca to tell a story about equality between men and women.

At one end of the room, there is a white transparent curtain, behind which you will see the selected artworks themselves. This exhibition focuses on the stories. The artworks are only the pretext for telling a story. If you can’t get enough of the exhibition, you can hear even more stories via the audio guide, as well as a veritable soundscape.

Collaborating with our visitors is very important to us as a museum. The participants have expanded our perspective on our collection and our work. We not only aim to be a museum for everybody, but also a museum that collaborates with our visitors.