Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou | Benin


Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou was born in 1965 in Porto-Novo, Benin, where he still lives and works.

He is the founder and director of the first photographic school in Benin which opened in 2013, and has recently been appointed the president of the Photographer’s Association of Porto-Novo. Agbodjélou is the recipient of the 2013 Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize which he was awarded by the National Portrait Gallery in London, UK.
Using a daylight studio and a medium format film, the artist interprets the experience of a generation caught between tradition and progress.
He presented his first solo exhibition From Dahomey to Benin in 2010 in London. The Egungun Project was presented in Germany in 2013, followed by his latest solo exhibition Code Noir in 2014 in London; Egungun Masquerades at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town , South Africa in 2015 and, most recently Borderlands at Jack Bell Gallery in London, UK in 2016.


His work was acquired for the permanent collection of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary  Art Africa (MOCAA) and was included in the inaugural exhibition opening on 22  September 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Other notable collections include: the  Switzerland Museum of Modern Art, Zurich, Switzerland; Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK;  Saatchi Collection, London, UK; CAAC Pigozzi Collection, Geneva, Switzerland; Carnegie  Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, USA; Tiroche DeLeon Collection, Gibraltar; Iziko South African  Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Scheryn Art Fund, Cape Town, South Africa; Museum of  Modern Art, Equatorial Guinea; Danjuma Collection, Esher, United Kingdom; and most  recently, The Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.

Selected solo exhibitions:


LEONCE RAPHAEL AGBODJÉLOU, Smac gallery, Cape Town, South Africa 

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou : Code Noir, Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK


Citizens of Porto-Novo, Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK

The Egungun Project, Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs, Wiesbaden, Germany 


Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou : Demoiselles de Porto-Novo, Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK 


Egungun Project, Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK 


From Dahomey to Benin, Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK 

 Selected group exhibitions:


Making & Unmaking, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK

Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, CCCB, Barcelona, Spain  

Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA 


Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK 


Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK 

Native Nostalgia, The Museum of African Design, South Africa 

Revealed2, Samstag Museum of Art, Adelaide, Australia 

LagosPhoto Festival, Lagos, Nigeria

Paris Photo, Paris, France


Betwixt and Between: Contemporary African Photography, Museum of Glasgow 

Out of Focus, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK


Les Fantomes, Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK


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