LEONCE RAPHAEL AGBODJÉLOU

b. 1965 Porto-Novo, Benin

Lives and works in Porto-Novo, Benin

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

In 2019 Agbodjelou’s work was included in notable exhibitions including: two together at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary ArtAfrica (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa; KUBATANA at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium in Norway; Fashioning Black Identity: Africa and the African Diaspora at Monash Gallery of Art in Wheelers Hill, Australia; Abadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu Continuel at the National Gallery of Canada and Filling in the Gaps at Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, amongst others.

He presented his first solo exhibition From Dahomey to Benin in 2010 in London, UK. The Egungun Project was presented in Germany in 2013, followed by Code Noir in 2014 in London; Egungun Masquerades at SMAC Gallery in Cape Town , South Africa in 2015 and Borderlands at Jack Bell Gallery in London, UK in 2016.

Agbodjélou’s work is included in numerous international travelling exhibitions, most recently: Making Africa – A Continent of Contemporary Design, curated by Amelie Klein with Okwui Enwezor, held at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, USA in 2017 and Albuquerque Museum, in  Albuquerque; Blanton Museum of Arts, Austin, both in USA 2018. His work is also included in African-Print Fashion Show Now! A Story Of Taste, Globalization, and Style, at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, in Memphis, USA, also travelling in 2018.

His work has been exhibited widely in Africa and internationally. Notable group exhibitions include: Betwixt and Between: Contemporary African Photography at the Museum of Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland; Out of Focus: Photography at the Saatchi Gallery in London, UK both in 2012; Revealed 2 at the Samtag Museum of Art in Adelaide, Australia in 2013; Lagos Photo Festival in Nigeria in 2014; All Things Being Equal at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), in Cape Town, South Africa; X: Part III at SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch, South Africa both in 2017. In 2018 Agbodjélou’s work was included in the group exhibition entitled The Atlantic Triangle, curated by Alfons Hug at the 11th Bienal Do Mercosul in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Notable collections include:  the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa; 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.

Leonce’s work is currently incuded in the group exhibition  Abadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu Continuel at the National Gallery of Canada from 08.11.2019 to 15.04.2020.

Danny Shorkend | Cape Times | Fabric of the spirit world | October 2015 – PDF

Charles Gore | African Arts | Artist interview: Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou |  Autumn 2015 – PDF