Artwork by Raphael Leonce Agbodjelou
Working from Porto Novo, a city characterized by a sense of faded, colonial era grandeur, Agbodjelou’s works are characterized by the juxtaposition of historic narratives and the contemporary reality of his current setting.
Bold colour and composition offset by textures create visually engaging images that challenge traditional notions of gender, religion and art historical dialogue as well as questioning how these themes are understood in a contemporary African setting.
Agbodjelou’s previous series include the 2011 Vodou Series as well as three series in 2012- Demoiselles de Porto, Nigerian Border Smuggler and Musclemen.
Apart from being one of the pre-eminent photographers of the Republic of Benin, Agbodjelou is also the founder and director of the first photographic school in Benin, president of the Photographer’s Association of Porto-Novo.
His work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, London, as well as being part of collections in the CAAC Pigozzi Collection, Geneva, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.
SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2013 The Egungun Project, Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs, Wiesbaden, Germany Citizens of Porto-Novo, Jack Bell Gallery, London 2012 Demoiselles de Porto-Novo, Jack Bell Gallery, London 2011 Egungun Project, Jack Bell Gallery, London 2010 From Dahomey to Benin, Jack Bell Gallery, London
GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2014 Pangaea, Saatchi Gallery, London 2013 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London Revealed2, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, Australia Native-Nostalgia, Museum of African Design, Johannesburg, South Africa 2012 Betwixt and Between: Contemporary African Photography, Museum of Glasgow, UK Out of Focus: Photography, Saatchi Gallery, London 2011 Les Fantomes, Jack Bell Gallery, London