The Republic of Benin Announces First Ever Venice Biennale Pavillion curated by Azu Nwagbogu at the 60th edition in 2024.
The Republic of Benin announced its first ever national pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale, which will be hold from 20 April–24 November 2024. The announcement makes Benin the latest addition to the global art event which has been running since 1895.
In a statement, the president of the Republic of Benin, Patrice Talon, revealed that the pavilion will be curated by Azu Nwagbogu, founder and director of the Lagos-based African Artists’ Foundation. Nwabogu will be assisted by Yassine Lassissi, artistic director of La Galerie Nationale du Bénin, and architect Franck Houndégla. Playwright José Pliya, the general director of La Galerie Nationale, will commission the pavilion.
The exhibition is in line with Talon’s efforts to have the relics looted from the Kingdom of Benin returned. He explained: “We are delighted to have Azu Nwagbogu as the curator of the Benin National Pavilion. His unique background, vision and expertise in the field of art curation makes him the perfect candidate to showcase Benin’s cultural heritage and contemporary art to the world.”
The number of African nations participating has now increased to twelve from seven in 2017; Ghana and Madagascar debuted in 2019 and Cameroon and Namibia had their debuts at the 59th Venice Biennale last year, with the first NFT art show and ‘The Lone Stone Men of the Desert’ respectively.