Séraphin Zounyekpe

Séraphin Zounyekpe
Séraphin Zounyekpe, Vendeuses Series, 2011

Séraphin Zounyekpe is a photographer and film maker whose subject is daily life in Benin. He wanders the streets with his camera and records what he comes across, documenting events that catch his attention.

Street Vendors (Vendeuses) is a series of photographs of women who sell food, drinks and merchandise on the streets of Cotonou. Balancing heavy containers of carefully arranged products on their heads, they might make one or two Euros a day to supplement the family income. As a collection of images, they communicate a powerful message about the situation of many women.

The format of Zounyekpe’s films are one minute. Under the Bridge (Sous le Pont) portrays a family forced to live under a bridge near Dantokpa market. The father makes mattresses and his wife is a sweeper and five of their 17 children were born here. The family is susceptible to robbery, bad weather and disease under the bridge. The Crossing (La traversée) records the annual flood in Cotonou during the rainy season. People either drive motorbikes through the deep waters or risk walking along the train track. At the Petrol Station (A La Pompe) shows a stall selling black market petrol from Nigeria. The Other Side (L’autre côté) demonstrates the difficulty pedestrians have in crossing the road due to the heavy traffic. These brief films are like moving photographs, each giving a glimpse into different aspects of daily life in Benin.


Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

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Nine countries show off their talent as five city venues link up for a summer celebration. Helen Nugent in the Guardian

Street life, dazzling dress, social commentary and a riot of sensuous colour interweave in a rich assembly of West African art, writes Charles Gore in the Times Higher Education