Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou

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Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou
Born1965 (age 58–59)
Known forphotography
Movementcontemporary art

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (born 1865), is a Beninese photographer.


Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou was born in Porto-Novo in 1965.[citation needed] He is the son of Benin photographer Joseph Moise Agbodjelou (1912–2000).[citation needed] He does not have a formal education and was trained by his father.[citation needed] They were traveled together with portable studio. They used a traditional colorful fabrics as a background for the people portraits they made. Leonce Agbodjelou founded the first Photography School in Benin.[1] He serves as the President of the Photographer's Association of Porto-Novo.[2]


Agbodjelou's portraiture series, Citizens of Porto-Novo depicts people of Benin's capital. He is using a daylight studio and a medium format film camera for the project. His 'Musclemen' shows staged studio photograph of muscular men, which is popular theme in the West Africa.[3] The 'Egungun' project are photographs of the masqueraders, depicting divine ancestors of Yoruba-speaking people. They usually appear at funerals to guide deceased to the spirit world. They can also appear at any time to protect people from misfortunes.[4]



  • 2011 Egungun Project. A Sumptuous Masquerade, Jack Bell Gallery, London[5]
  • 2015 Egungun Masquerades, SMAC Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa[6]
  • 2017 The Egungun Project: One man show, Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs, Wiesbaden[7]



Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou works are in public collections around the world, including Zurich Museum of Art, Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, Saatchi Collection in London, Carnegie Museum of Art, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town and Museum of Modern Art in Equatorial Guinea.[16]


  1. ^ "Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou". Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  2. ^ "Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou". Art Base Africa.
  3. ^ Todd Leopold (2014-11-12). "Musclemen: 'Strength, power, pride'". CNN.com. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  4. ^ Evelyne Politanoff (2011-11-28). "Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou: Egungun Project. A Sumptuous Masquerade". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  5. ^ "Egungun Project by Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou". Another Magazine. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  6. ^ "Egungun Masquerades". SMAC Gallery.
  7. ^ "Upcoming exhibitions". Kleinschmidt Fine Photographs.
  8. ^ Teo Kermeliotis and Errol Barnett (2013-11-14). "Africa's 'first design museum' stirs continent's creative pulse". CNN.com. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  9. ^ "10 fantastic portraits from the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013". Time Out London. 2013-12-14. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  10. ^ Kevin J. Kelley (2015-02-11). "Art Review: 'Staring Back,' Fleming Museum". Seven Days Vermont. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  11. ^ Rosemary Ronnekanti (2015-06-16). "Seattle Art Museum opens "Disguise: Masks and Global African Art"". The News Tribune. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  12. ^ karen Kedmey (2016-05-03). "The Brooklyn Museum's African Mask Show Is a Complex, Powerful Exploration of Identity". The Artsy. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  13. ^ Mary Pelletier (2017-02-21). "Afrofuturism takes on a new meaning in Israel". The Apollo Magazine. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  14. ^ Erin Connors (2017-03-14). "Colorful African-print fashions coming to the Fowler Museum at UCLA". UCLA Newsroom. Retrieved 2017-05-17.
  15. ^ "Through an African Lens: Sub-Saharan Photography from the Museum's Collection". The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved 2020-06-13.
  16. ^ "Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou". SMAC Gallery.