Imagine: the Atomium peered over the city streets of Jette while the tram arrives at its station; A concert evening in the famous jazz club Archiduc in rue Dansaert, or a samba open air concert in a friends’ garden in rue Vauthier; Belgian clouds reflected in the Art Nouveau window of Hotel Hannon in Ixelles; A personal re-created composition of Place Flagey; A lazy Sunday in Bois de la Cambre, with the chalet Robinson in the background. Those are just a few examples of artworks which are part of the art exhibition “my Brussels” (“Bruxelles Emois”) by François Bienfait, a Brussels artist dedicating most of his artistic talent to his hometown. For professional reasons, François lived several years in other European countries – namely the UK, Spain, Malta and Greece. However, the distance has only enhanced his newfound appreciation for the home city. He craved to return to his roots and rediscover the beauty in all the ordinary things he took for granted.
François started painting in his early twenties at Ecole d’Art d’Uccle, where he stayed for several years, mainly painting still lives and models in oil paint. Simultaneously, he became a lawyer and started a career dedicated to refugee law. He worked as an adviser to a Belgian Deputy Prime Minister. He was for almost a decade the Belgian Deputy Commissioner for refugees and stateless persons. Finally, he joined the European Agency for Asylum based in Malta. In 2017 François returned to Belgium and joined the Academy of Fine Arts of Watermael-Boitsfort where he practises a new medium of painting, pastels and charcoals. He tried a wide range of topics starting with models and portraits and later on focusing on countryside and urban landscapes.
Just a year ago, he had a one-month exhibition at Balthasar (Sablon) in the heart of Brussels and the previous year he took part in the Parcours d’Artistes in Lessinnes (born place of René Magritte). In 2021 he also had the opportunity to have one work virtually exposed during a full month at the Oculus in New York City.
It was in the middle of the pandemic crisis that he paid particular attention and energy to Brussels, the results of his long walks in the city or memories of good times spent here with friends and family. You may recognize some inspiration in painters such as Edward Hooper and even more in the old tradition of genre scenes of the Peter Brueghel, father and son.
François will have a solo expo event on 28 & 29 May at the Rooftop of the Cube, 195 rue Haute in the Marolles district of Brussels, with the theme “My Brussels” (“Bruxelles émois”). He will show some 20 or more pastels that he dedicated to his home city.
Saturday 28 May from 18.00 till 21.00
Sunday 29 May from 14.00 till 20.00
Rooftop, the Cube, 195 rue Haute (6th floor), 1000 Brussels
To learn more about the artist, follow him on Instagram @Francois_bienfait1