Electric Chair, 1971 | Andy Warhol | Collection Karel & Martine Hooft | © Dirk Pauwels


Newtopia is a major, international contemporary art exhibition in Mechelen (Belgium) dedicated to human rights. The exhibition will build on the long relationship between art and human rights and aims to explore the numerous and complex questions associated with the issue. It will chart the development of the human rights movement and its evolving discourse.

Newtopia will examine a rich variety of artistic responses in relation to the diverse tenets of human rights and will present work by over 60 internationally acclaimed and emerging artists of different generations from all contents working in diverse media. The exhibition will be divided into several distinct thematic chapters that trace the development of human rights and their rise since the post-war era. The art work will negotiate different facets of human rights: from civil to political rights, social, economic and cultural rights, to the right to sustainable development, to peace and to a healthy environment, while emphasizing the indivisible, interrelated and interdependent nature of these rights.

Newtopia is a temporary exhibition, built to coincide with the opening of Kazerne Dossin, Memorial, Museum, and Documentation Centre on Holocaust and Human Rights. It is configured in the form of a parcours that will entail a rich combination of historical and cutting-edge art and will take place in the Cultural Centre; the Old Meat Market; the Academy of Fine Arts; the city Museum Hof Van Busleyden; and Lamot Conference and Heritage Centre, as well as in public space.

The curator is Katerina Gregos, co-curator of this year’s Manifesta, currently living in Brussels.



By means of our blog, we wanted to keep you up to date on all kinds of aspects of the exhibition: What is going on behind the scenes? Who are the artists? What is their outlook on human rights? Who is the team and how hard do they work? Who else is involved and has a say in the matter? What are the venues like and who are the guides?

Newtopia will feature over 60 international artists – young, old, middle-aged, some even dead. Half of them come from countries where human rights are a particularly contested issue – Palestine, Syria, Russia, Belarus, China and many others. The other half of the artists come from countries like Germany, Belgium, France, the UK or Italy, where human rights is an issue not much discussed when it should be.

Our blog wants to accomplish that you have an idea of the exhibition, its artists and works and its curator and team even before our opening date on September 1st. We want you to keep exploring even beyond the questions asked in the exhibition which is why we also interview journalists, human rights activists and many others involved in the topic.

Do you have feedback, wishes or questions concerning the exhibition or the blog? Please contact us at newtopiablog@gmail.com

And please remember: This is our first blog. If you think we are screwing up or you miss essential blog things that are not there … Let us know!

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