Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou

 

We recently came across the haunting images of Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou at the Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America exhibition which is currently on view at the Saatchi Gallery. Though all the photographers featured deserve mention when art from these regions is referenced, Agbodjelou’s images made us halt in our tracks.

One of the prominent photographers from Porto Novo in Benin, his work borrows from both the modern and the traditional, and throws light on how the world seeing Africa, leads it to see itself. Featuring dramatic masked Egungun figures, bare breasted women, and a colonial style backdrop in some of the images, Agbodjelou references both the history and the ritualism that cloud our gaze when we look at this continent. At the same time his images stand as testament to how Africa has embraced and shared those aspects of its culture that are rich and unique, while blending in with other social and cultural aspects that the globalised world favours.

Untitled triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

 

Untitled triptych (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

 

Untitled (Demoiselles de Porto-Novo series), 2012

 

<em>Untitled (Egungun series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Egungun series), 2012

 

<em></em>, 2012
Untitled (Egungun series), 2012

 

Untitled (Vodou Series), 2011

 

Untitled (Vodou Series), 2011

 

<em>Untitled (Musclemen series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Musclemen series), 2012

 

<em>Untitled (Musclemen series)</em>, 2012
Untitled (Musclemen series), 2012

 

Pangaea: New Art from Africa and Latin America
2 April – 2 November 2014

Saatchi Gallery

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