Benin 2024, 20 Apr 2024 — 24 Nov 2024
National Participations

Benin 2024

The first-ever Benin Pavilion at the Venice Biennale features the site-specific work of four contemporary Beninese artists.

Arsenale, Arsenale, Castello, 30122, Venice, Italy

Title: Everything Precious is Fragile
Commissioner: José Pliya
Curator: Azu Nwagbogu
Artists: Chloé Quenum, Moufouli Bello, Ishola Akpo, Romuald Hazoumè
Venue: Arsenale

The first-ever Benin Pavilion at the Venice Biennale emanates from a deep exploration of Yoruba Gė lė dė traditions, addressing the contemporary world’s fragility marked by ecological challenges, conflicts, and social inequalities. In collaboration with Benin’s traditional rulers, the curatorial team shaped the pavilion’s concept, humbly embracing fragility and the ephemeral nature of existence — for humans, plants, animals.

Gė lė dė philosophy unveils ecological, political, cultural, and social dimensions, celebrating indigenous wisdom’s resurgence and highlighting women’s vital role. Artists Hazoumè, Quenum, Akpo, and Bello embody Beninese ethos, advocating regeneration and [re]matriation, the return to the mother. Benin’s historical legacy and recent restitution of cultural artefacts shape the exhibition.

The pavilion envisions a compassionate future and challenges perceptions of fragility and strength. The Arsenale’s pavilion includes a library on colonial legacy, Indigenous knowledge, African representation, and biodiversity loss. It proposes urgent questions on the material and philosophical nature of fragility. Is fragility a strength or a weakness?

Contacts & Details

Apr 20 – Sept 25 Tue – Sun, 11am – 7pm
Sept 27 – Nov 24 Tue – Sun, 10am – 6pm

Arsenale, Arsenale, Castello, 30122, Venice, Italy
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