It’s bigger on the inside

Yesterday I had a day off work, and inbetween watching a couple of movies I popped out to a shop. Not to buy anything, you understand, but to take photographs.

I first discovered this shop shortly after moving to Brussels, while wandering around the Rue Haute-Rue Blaes-Place du Jeu de Balle area, known for its market square and shops selling godawful hideous junk antiques and bric-a-brac. At first I though it was just another African mask shop, but once I started to explore the vast, labyrinthine, TARDIS-like interior, I realised that this was, in fact, The Mother Of All African Mask Shops.  Or at least, it used to be. You see, the first time I went there was over seven years ago, and I’ve only just now got around to going back with my camera. As I started to wander through tiny rooms and up and down precipitous flights of stairs, all jam-packed with masks, sculptures and musical instruments, it struck me that it wasn’t as big as it used to be. In fact at one point I saw a sign on the wall saying “more this way”, pointing to a blocked-up doorway. After I’d taken my fill of photos I asked the owner where the rest of it had gone, and he told me that the shop had been split in two and that the other half was now on the parallel Rue Haut. This makes sense as Rue Haut is slightly more upmarket than Rue Blaes and might attract a better class of customer (i.e. someone who might actually buy something rather than just sneakily taking photos of the merchandise). I made my way over to the new premises, only to find that they’re closed on Wednesdays.

Oh well. The photos I took fail completely to give you a real impression of the feeling of this place – dark, twisting, maze-like, possibly infinite. Take a look anyway. Click the door to enter…

Bali-Africa