The Venice Biennale, a world-renowned contemporary art event, welcomes talented artists from all horizons every year. Considered the most prestigious art event in Europe and the world, it offers invited countries the opportunity to showcase their artistic culture and contemporary creators.
This annual celebration of art represents a unique opportunity to propel artists’ careers onto the contemporary world stage. For its 60th edition, the Venice Biennale is preparing to open its doors to new artistic pavilions. From April 20 to November 24, 2024, this year’s edition, entitled “Foreigners Everywhere“, will feature immersive, multi-faceted exhibitions. Many countries have already confirmed their participation in this exceptional art event.
Benin makes its first appearance on the contemporary art scene at the Venice Biennale
Entitled “Everything Precious Is Fragile“, the Benin pavilion will feature artists Chloé Quenum, Romuald Hazoumé, Moufouli Bello and Ishola Akpo, carefully selected by the curatorial committee to represent Benin at the 60th Venice Biennale.
Chloé Quenum is a visual artist from the Beninese diaspora. Multidisciplinary, her works are conceived from a variety of materials, and her main focus is on sculpture and installation art. In her work, Chloé Quenum remodels the materials she uses to reveal their cultural and historical origins.
Romuald Hazoumè is an internationally renowned visual artist from Benin. He has a unique artistic technique, and uses recycled materials to create his works in order to communicate a strong message to the public. He is best known for his Bidons mask series, and his work can be found in major art collections around the world.
Moufouli Bello questions social constructs through her contemporary art. A young visual and digital artist, she hails from Benin. Through a palette of luminous colors and figurative paintings, she explores the notion of social injustice linked to femininity, the human condition, race and identities.
Ishola Akpo is a visual artist and photographer who explores the many possibilities of digital technology. Originally from Benin, he straddles the boundaries between reality and fiction, tradition and modernity, fixed and plural identities. The contemporary artist’s works are emblematic and rich, revealing his desire to reconnect with his origins.
The “Everything Precious Is Fragile” exhibition in the Benin pavilion represents a unique opportunity for Benin to shine on the world art scene at the Venice Biennale.
Nigeria confirms its presence at this prestigious artistic event
Nigeria, meanwhile, confirms its second participation with the theme “Nigeria Imaginary“, curated by MOWAA’s Curator of Contemporary and Modern Art, Aindrea Emelife.
This group show will present Nigeria from different perspectives and ideas, through the unique and inner vision of eight talented artists such as Precious Okoyomon, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Abraham Oghobase, Fatimah Tuggar, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Ndidi Dike and Onyeka Igwe.
Precious Okoyomon is a poet-artist whose works are inspired by the world in its natural state, the pure pleasures of everyday life, racialization and migratory histories. She participated in the 59th Venice Biennale, as well as numerous other group and solo exhibitions.
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones is a painter who creates powerful figurative paintings inspired by his Nigerian origins and British upbringing. Born in the UK and living in New York, his art aims to expand the cultural themes addressed by major Nigerian cultural figures such as Ben Enwonwu, Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
Toyin Ojih Odutola redefines the traditions of portraiture and narrative through a unique and immersive art style. A Nigerian-American visual artist, she is known for her works on paper and multimedia drawings. Using basic materials, she explores the different possibilities offered by visual storytelling, developing a creative personal style.
Abraham Oghobase is a contemporary Nigerian visual artist based in Toronto. His photographic visual art revolves around notions of colonial history, the land and the production of knowledge, among others. In these works, he experiments with the narrative potential of objects and images.
Fatimah Tuggar is a Nigerian interdisciplinary artist based in the United States. Her art questions dominant, linear narratives about gender, race and technology. The contemporary artist uses mediums such as collage and technology to conceive these works.
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA explores the terms of colonialism, postcolonialism and cultural identity in a contemporary context of globalization. The Nigerian artist’s creations describe the intertwined relationship between Africa and Europe.
Ndidi Dike is a self-taught sculptor of international renown, creating art sculptures whose diverse forms are rooted in contemporary politics, pre- and post-colonial slave history, natural resource extraction and geopolitical history, among others.
Onyeka Igwe, an artist and researcher working in film and installation, her works have been presented at numerous art galleries and film festivals abroad. She reforms cinematic perception by playing on editing style, dissonance, reflection and amplification between sound and image.
The Nigerian pavilion will be exhibited in a specially reserved open space in a historic palazzo in Dorsoduro, close to the Gallerie dell’Accademia.
Morocco makes its participation in the 60th Venice Biennale official
As one of the invited African countries, Morocco will reinforce Africa’s presence on the contemporary art scene. The location of the Moroccan pavilion at the entrance to the Arsenal, close to the permanent pavilions, is the result of meticulous scouting by the Minister of Culture and his teams.
For its first participation in the 60th Venice Biennale, Morocco has chosen artist and writer Mahi Binebine to curate its pavilion. With the aim of presenting Moroccan contemporary art at its best, the curator has selected three talented artists. Fatiha Zemmouri, Safaa Erruas and Magida Khattari will be showcased in the space specially designed for the Moroccan pavilion.
Fatiha Zemmouri‘s art practice revolves around the notions of construction, deconstruction, regeneration and transformation. Her work focuses on materials such as wood, coal and earth, as well as natural phenomena such as water, earth and fire. Through an abstract approach, she gives her creations a poetic edge by simplifying their form and materiality, bringing out the full depth of the material.
Safaa Erruas‘ unique artistic approach reveals an art focused on white, a symbolic color which, according to the artist, expresses absence, immateriality, transparency, fragility and the place of possibility. Her works are characterized by an unsettling delicacy and stunning power, following the assembly of fine (fabrics, cotton, paper, etc.) and sharp (needles, glass, razor blades, etc.) materials that capture the public’s attention and engage a neutral discussion.
French-Moroccan multidisciplinary artist Majida Khattari places the female body at the heart of her artistic approach. She uses media such as photography, performance, painting, installation and video to explore and reveal the objectification of female bodies in contemporary societies. Majida Khattari‘s work is inspired by women’s conditions in Arab societies, while also referring to contemporary political events and questions of religion and secularism.
The choice of these female artists highlights their excellence and their significant contribution to contemporary art. As Mahi Binebine explains: “They are among the best artists, and for this first participation, I wanted to give a faithful image of our country. It’s a strong signal that we’re turning towards modernity.” This participation represents a unique opportunity for Morocco to get involved in this not-to-be-missed artistic event, and to promote Moroccan talent and art on an international scale.