M I C H È L E • V A N V L A S S E L A E R



Michèle Vanvlasselaer

Michèle Vanvlasselaer (1974) is a Belgian artist who specialized in stained glass windows during her studies at the LUCA School of Arts, Campus Gent, Belgium. With this ancient technique she makes stained glass windows in industrial and contemporary architecture.

She incorporates themes like light, time, memory and fading into her work. Her most important work is “Meeting Under the Ficus tree” a 100m2 glass wall for the cultural center and art gallery « Bilembo » in Kinshasa, D. R. Congo.

The rhythm of life in developing countries, in contrast to the fast rhythm that we are used to living by in the West, the history of the immediate, can be seen as her main inspiration.

In 1997, after training at the LUCA School of Arts, Michèle Vanvlasselaer left her native Belgium for Southeast Asia to settle in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital. Here, as a specialist in stained glass windows, she became fascinated by the transparency and texture of the ubiquitous plastic bags and rice sacks. These materials became the basis for three large installations: “Pause”, “Losing Time” and “Slowness”. Shortly afterwards, a meeting with the Cambodian-American artist Sopheap Pich (Documenta 13, MoMA 2013) led to a joint exhibition at the Java Arts Gallery. 

In 2006, Michèle left Southeast Asia and moved to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Based in Kinshasa – and influenced by the country’s significant copper industry – her work began to focus primarily on engravings. Following an invitation to work with the Academy of Anderlecht (Brussels), where she studied non-toxic methods of engraving, she commuted regularly between Kinshasa and Brussels to master these new techniques. 

By 2008, based in Egypt and travelling around the region to the Gilf Kebir and Libyan deserts, she became intrigued by the beautiful natural silica one finds in The Great Sand Sea. This discovery inspired her return to working with glass. From her studio in Alexandria, Michèle realized several large projects, including the sculpture “The Ice Queen Lost in the Desert” and a series of five stained glass windows.

In 2011, Michèle returned to Kinshasa where she continued to pursue her fascination with light, memory and graphic images – most notably in 2015 via a commission for a 100m2 stained glass window at a major new cultural center, Bilembo. Composed from over a thousand glass pieces recycled from a disused colonial cotton factory, “Meeting under the Ficus Tree” is, to date, her masterpiece.

Currently, Michèle is working on a range of stained glass projects in Belgium and in the Middle East. This includes the design of 52 stained glass windows for a mosque at the harbour of Gaza (2016), working with the association Glazza which supports educational projects in the visual arts (2017), and a six months artist residency in Gaza in collaboration with the A.M. Qattan Foundation and UNRWA (2018). Michèle teaches the technique of stained glass windows in the Art and Craft Village in Gaza and is giving weekly lectures about contemporary art & architecture with the focus on the projects of Belgian architects Robbrecht & Daem.


2016 – present : Brussels, Belgium
2011 – 2015 : Kinshasa, DR Congo
2010 – 2011 : Brussels, Belgium
2008 – 2010 : Cairo, Egypt
2006 – 2008 : Kinshasa, DR Congo
2003 – 2006 : Phnom Penh, Cambodia
1974 – 2003 : Belgium

2006 – 2013

Printmaking: Academy Anderlecht (Brussels), Belgium.

1992 – 1997

Master of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, LUCA School of Arts, Campus Gent, Belgium.


– Commission for residency Daem, stained glass windows, Gent, Belgium (in progress)
– Commission for residency Vanthemsche-Jacobs, stained glass windows, Brussels (in progress)


– Artist Residency Gaza, Palestine, Qattan-Foundation, Palestine, April 6 – October 31
– Artist Talk, Municipality of Brussels, b-architecten, Maison de la création, Brussels, March 22
– Artist Talk, Université catholique de Louvain, department architecture, Brussels, March 15
– Commission, 8 designs for stained glass windows, Church of Saint Gabriel, Nazareth, Israel (in progress)


– Commission, stained glass windows, Jerusalem Tile Work, Brussels
– Animation movie, UNRWA Gaza, Palestine + Maison de la création, Brussels
– Artist Talk, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, July 4
– Artist Talk, “The Mosaic Rooms” London, UK, May 10
– Commission, 52 designs for stained glass windows in mosque, Gaza,Palestine, March
– Artist Talk, Bezalel University, department glass & ceramics, Jerusalem, Israel, January 31


– Exhibition «De Gaza à Bruxelles, contre vents et marées » Maison de la création, Brussels, Belgium, November 9
– Commission, Stained glass window « Piano Phase » Antwerp, Belgium
– Lecture/Presentation « Natural light in architecture and stained glass windows » Iwan Centre, Gaza, Palestine, July 26
– Lecture/Presentation « Recycling materials in architecture and stained glass windows » Eco Camp, University of Palestine, Gaza, Palestine, July 22
– Group exhibition « 8th International Printmaking Biennial of Douro 2016 » Lamego Museum, Alijo, Portugal
– Group exhibition «1st Virtual International Printmaking Biennial 2016 » Douro Museum, Portugal
– Lecture/Presentation « About natural light and glass and architecture» Royal University of Fine Arts, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, February 5
– Lecture/Presentation « The relation between stained glass windows and architecture » University of Palestine in Gaza, February 17
– Lecture/Presentation « Glass works in Gaza » International Academy of Arts Palestine, West Bank, Palestine, February 20
– Lecture/Presentation, KASK School of Arts, Master seminar “Arts and commitment”, Gent, Belgium, March l


– Commission, Stained glass window, 100m2 « Meeting under the Ficus tree/Rencontre sous le Ficus » cultural center and art gallery Bilembo, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo (one year project)
– Group exhibition « Global print 2015 » Douro Museum, Régua, Portugal
– Group exhibition « Ambassadeurs de la paix», gallery Bilembo, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo


– Group exhibition « YANGO -OFF, First Biennale of contemporary art », Kinshasa, D.R. Congo
– Commission, Three stained glass Windows « Chocolate », Phnom Penh, Cambodia
– Group exhibition « 7e Bienal Internacional De Gravura 2014 », Lamego Museum, Alijo, Portugal


– Group exhibition « XXII édition du prix de la Gravure
et de l’image imprimée » Museum of engravings, Centre de la gravure et de et de l’image imprimée, La Louvière, Belgium
– Group exhibition « Global print 2013 » Douro Museum, Régua, Portugal


– Group exhibition « Collaboration », Sixième Sens, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo
– Group exhibition « Tshangu Elongi Ya Solo », Polyvart, Kinshasa, D.R. Congo
– Group exhibition « One Billion Rising », Kinshasa, D.R. Congo
– Group exhibition « XIVe SOMMET DE LA FRANCOPHONIE», Kinshasa, D.R. Congo


– Group exhibition, Academy Anderlecht, Belgium
– Group exhibition « Unlocked », De Loketten, Flemish Parliament, Brussels, Belgium


– Commission, Glass sculpture « The Ice Queen Lost in the desert », No Limits, Designopolis, Cairo, Egypt
– Group exhibition, Academy Anderlecht, Belgium
– Group exhibition « De Reiziger » De Kunstkater, Lier, Belgium


– Commission, Five stained glass windows for the Said residence, Cairo, Egypt


– Solo Exhibition « Faded identity », Residence European Commission Cairo, Egypt
– Group exhibition, Academy Anderlecht, Belgium


– Commission, Stained glass window for the Lang-Hanafin residence « Living Room 1», Charente-Maritime, France


– Two-person exhibition « TRANSIT », Java Art Gallery, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
– Commission, “The Gate” residential renovation project, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


– Commission, “The door” residential renovation project, Phnom Penh, Cambodia


– Commission, Design bags in collaboration with « coll.part » Switserland

2003 – 1998

– Commissions, Stained Glass windows, Belgium


– Group exhibition, Laureates Sint-Lucas, « de Witte Zaal », Gent, Belgium
– Group exhibition, Galery « Kunst vzw », Gent, Belgium


– Group exhibition, Galery, Generale Bank, Gent, Belgium



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Architecture and visual arts have always complemented each other. I like to explore the seductive tension that exists between them and work with it in a simple, natural way.

Their mutual attraction is born out of the functional and eminently realistic character of architecture, and the unsolicited, illusory and inapplicable nature of the visual arts.

Light herein plays a central, binding role, and is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a place to live. Without light there is no architecture, no shadows, no perspective, no depth, no vision, no life, no history.

I can take your project from concept to completion – whether it’s a sculpture, a stained glass window, a door, an entry way, a building facade, an interior feature wall, or a mirror – through drawing with light and with glass.
I work with a variety of techniques including painting, sandblasting, beveling, carving, glass overlay, fusing, and traditional stained glass with a contemporary approach. Contact me to exchange views, to discuss your project, to explore where I can complement your vision.

I look forward to meeting you!