The ‘t’ is Silent

MDD’s exhibition, entitled The ‘t’ is Silent, is curated by curator Gabi Ngcobo and artist Oscar Murillo. Many of the artists in the exhibition are being shown in Belgium for the first time.

Painting, historically regarded as the ‘royal road’ of artistic practice, has over the centuries meant that the art form, alongside drawing, served as a foundation for artistic education, where such education was available. The history of Western art pedagogy in colonised places often reveals that the colonial government’s rule was indirectly played out in how formal artistic pedagogies were organised. The recent calls for decolonial education – fuelled by the Black Lives Matter and other affiliated movements, as well as the pandemic – have inspired reconsiderations of the human condition and the politics of care. At the same time, these social movements have coincided with a new rise in representational painting that has been critiqued, in the words of artist Olu Oguibe, as “jolly, no-worries, all sunshine and flowers, ebullient wealthy middle-class representation of Blackness…”

The ‘t’ is Silent operates adjacent to this renewed emergence. Departing from the work of Jenny Montigny in MDD’s collection and Oscar Murillo’s Disrupted Frequencies, this exhibition focuses on artists and works that record time differently, works that are about painting or that think through the medium of painting as a form of journaling – of working things through and of learning anew.

“The artists featured in this exhibition face history and the present by embracing ‘trouble’ and a kind of ‘paining’ that forces one to decide, in a time marked indecision. Where objects disappear, they are replaced by feelings and energy; where they appear they are being dissected in order to uncover another world of possibilities.” – Gabi Ngcobo


Gabi Ngcobo (1974, eThekwini, South Africa) engages in collaborative artistic, curatorial, and educational projects in South Africa and on an international scope. She is a founding member of the Johannesburg based collaborative platform NGO – Nothing Gets Organised. NGO focuses on processes of self-organisation that take place outside of predetermined structures, definitions, contexts, or forms.

Oscar Murillo (1986, Valle del Cauca, Colombia) is based in various locations. His body of work demonstrates a sustained emphasis on the notion of cultural exchange and the multiple ways in which ideas, languages, and even everyday items are displaced, circulated, and increasingly intermingled.


Anh Trần, Annabelle Agbo Godeau, Brandon Ndife, Chemu Ng’ok, Dalton Paula, Donna Kukama, Francis Offman, Hamishi Farah, Jenny Montigny, Kerry James Marshall, Marcela Cantuária, Misheck Masamvu, Oscar Murillo.