Bozar director-general Sophie Lauwers dies aged 55

Bozar director-general Sophie Lauwers dies aged 55
Bozar's Director-general Sophie Lauwers. Credit: Jef Jacobs / Bozar

Sophie Lauwers, director-general of Bozar, Brussels’ Centre for Fine Arts, has died at the age of 55 after years of battling breast cancer. She passed away on Sunday 29 May.

Lauwers has worked at Bozar since 2001 and became the centre’s director-general last year, where she continued to work until her final days.

“Bozar loses an experienced leader and inspiring colleague,” the official press release read. “We will remember Sophie as a delicate personality who lived life with passion and a lot of humour.”

Devoted to art

Drawing strength from beauty and art, which she “radiated with a smile to her surroundings”, Lauwers had devoted herself with heart and soul to the art house for two decades.

Starting as an exhibition coordinator, she became the head of the exhibitions department in 2011, after which she spent her last months as director-general.

Lauwers highlighted the connections between classical and contemporary art, as well as between the visual arts and other disciplines. She curated exhibitions with famous classical works, post-war modern art, and contemporary artists.

Alternating big names with lesser-known artists, Lauwers oversaw the successful exhibitions of Michaël Borremans, Keith Haring and David Hockney. She also made a point of giving equal exposure to female artists such as Jacqueline Mesmaeker.

In her application letter, Lauwers wrote: “The Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels is the institution that has recreated me. I learned to deal with complexity, to anchor beliefs in a world that is constantly changing, and to be efficient by adapting to changing circumstances.”

Farewell messages

The Centre for Fine Arts will open a public mourning register from 10 to 28 June, made by Valérie Mannaerts. The public is welcome between 10:00 and 18:00 to write a farewell message.

Those wishing to send a personal message to Lauwers' family can do so at the following address: Bozar/Sophie Lauwers – Ravensteinstraat 23 – 1000 Brussels.

The continuity of Bozar’s day-to-day operations is assured by the centre’s management under the leadership of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

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