Discover Benelux, Issue 26, February 2016

Page 22

Discover Benelux | Knokke | Things to Do & Discover

Middle Eastern magic in Knokke TEXT: ELLA PUT | PHOTOS: BART WILLE

There are a plethora of art galleries on the coast of Knokke, but only Bart Wille’s gallery will take you on a magical journey into the enchanted world of the Silk Road and Central Asia. Packed with authentic, historical treasures from Ouzbékistan, India and Iran, the Bart Wille art gallery gives visitors an exceptional look into the world of archaeology. In his gallery, art historian Bart Wille showcases a broad spectrum of objects varying from ancient Indian jewellery with tribal origins to antique archaeological finds, such as a Javanese tribal panel dating back to the 15th century. This presents just a sample of the large collection of artefacts housed in Wille’s gallery, which beautifully overlooks the 22 | Issue 26 | February 2016

Belgian coast. After hearing Wille talk passionately about his archaeological adventures in, for example, Afghanistan and Iran, it is tempting to instantly set off to the Silk Road and live like Indiana Jones yourself. Through the gallery, that is free to enter, Wille brings that mystical world a little bit closer to home and everyone is welcome to take a look: “From serious buyers to curious visitors, everyone can come in and have a look. Furthermore, all the objects in the gallery are provided with information notes in two languages.” Focussing on both archaeological findings and ethnographical history, meaning the study of people and cultures, the gallery is like a small museum with Wille as its

very passionate tour guide: “Ever since I started working as an archaeologist, people have asked me to bring some of my findings with me for them. I realised that people were interested not only in viewing historical objects, but also in buying them. So a gallery with the option to buy items seemed like the perfect solution.” Questioning whether historical objects might be better off in a museum rather than for sale in a gallery, Wille answers: “Archaeology is timeless, in design, in fashion and well, basically everywhere. A Roman vase will fit in any household at any time. Archaeological objects never run out of style.”

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