Ishola Akpo is a photographer and multimedia artist from Benin. He explores the possibilities of digital art by mixing different thematics and creates several levels of interpretation resulting in complex metaphors. The multi-layered images, blurring the lines between fiction and reality are characteristic of his work.
In the photographic series « Daïbi » on the Nago hunters of the region of Savè (Benin) he staged the imaginary god Daïbi who brings together the four natural elements: water, fire, air and earth. The exploration of cultural practices reveals his desire to reconnect with his origins and poses in the same movement a set of reflections on the multiple identity. In residence at Jardin Rouge, Ishola Akpo carries out a work in continuity with the « Daïbi » series. For Ishola Akpo, photography represents a « means of experimenting oneself and the world ».
When the prospect of a residence at the Montresso Foundation came up, Ishola planned to give substance to the ideas that he has not yet managed to express plastically: his nomadic, uncertain and multiple conception of identity. This second time of creation seems to explore the concept of radicant, this « organism that makes its roots grow as it moves forward and has to negotiate with the soil that welcomes it » 4. He leaves here the personal dimension and enters a more universal dimension.
The Medina, which echoes Dantokpa, is a source of inspiration for the artist. Through the meetings, he discovers many objects considered as spaces of connection, dialogue between these different cultures. The experience of translation and negotiation has been paramount in the artist’s reflection; he feels it is necessary to test the language, the relationship.
In this work, Ishola Akpo affirms the necessity of a thought of complexity to think / heal the other and the world. He also highlights the importance of knowing and accepting his origins, his heritage, without letting them uniquely determine us.
Wax story, Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Bénin
IN-DISCIPLINE, espace Expressions, Fondation CDG, Rabat, Maroc
IN-DISCIPLINE1, espace d’art Montresso*, Marrakech, Maroc
Prix Orisha pour l’art contemporain, Galerie l’Appartement, Paris, France
Chaos-monde!, Le centre, lobozounkpa, Bénin
IyEye of Benin, Comparing views on rituals, Venise, Italie
Passant souviens-toi, dit soeurette, Place des martyrs Cotonou, Bénin
Rituals and performance: inherent risk, Lagosphoto festival, Nigéria
Africa Pop, Les Rencontres de la photographie, Arles, France
Africa Contemporanea Atraès Do olhar de seus artistas, Aquiafrica, Sao Paolo, Brésil
Encontre de Brasil E Africa Contemporanea, Festival afreaka, Sao Paolo, Brésil
Museum Night Fever, Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain, Bruxelles
VIDEOS of Ishola Akpo
EVENTS with Ishola Akpo