Flemish-Congolese artist Roland Gunst is ambivalent about the Flemish lion. On the one hand, the clawing lion instills fear in him as a symbol of an assumed pure Flemish identity that rejects foreignness. On the other hand, he holds a passionate desire for the arrival of a Flemish lion who will liberate his people. A lion that – as the Flemish flag already suggests – is black.
In the musical performance Flandria, a blend of history and mythology, that time has finally come: the black lion, King Lion I of Flanders, rises. Not in order to liberate Flanders from the French, but to resolve the issue of integration that our society is wrestling with, once and for all. Lion I throws himself into battle against the horrifying monster of assimilation, which threatens to swallow us all whole.
In a mystical ritual with the noblewoman Flandria – soprano singer Emma Posman – and with music composed by Benjamien Lycke, executed by the renowned Kugoni Trio, Gunst reflects on the Flemish identity and depicts an Afropean kingdom in which impurity and interculturality are celebrated.