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The 2024 selection committee of the ellipse Prize met on Thursday, May 23. The ellipse Prize is glad to present the 5 finalists of this fourth edition dedicated to emerging artists living in Benin and to Beninese living in the African continent.  

LEFT TO RIGHT: Marcel Kpoho, Métamorphose, 2021. Tyre straps, 183 x 110 x 100cm. Nauld Adjahuime, Mystère Enchevêtré, 2022. Photography, 40 x 60cm. Nella Aguessy, Resting after the Celbrations, Maison familiale, 2023. Photography, 1920 x 1280 px. Nobel Koty, 02 – Serie Voile, 2024. 130 x 110cm. Océane-Maria Adjovi, Prayer of old Cupidon, 2023. 162 x 130cm.

The selected artists are Marcel Kpoho, Nella Aguessy, Nobel Koty, Océane-Maria Adjovi and Nauld Adjahuime.  

This year, for the first time, the finalists will have the opportunity to present their work at a unique collective exhibition at Maison Rouge, in Cotonou. This hotel partner of this edition is renowned for its events highlighting the country’s artistic creation. This brand-new initiative reinforces the ellipse Prize’s local involvement in this step in Benin and emphasizes its growing commitment to the African continent.  

The vernissage will take place on June 27, 2024, inaugurating the exhibition until July 19.

The name of the winner of the ellipse Prize 2024 will be announced on Tuesday, June 18. He will benefit from an exhibition at the international fair AKAA – ALSO KNOWN AS AFRICA from October 18 to 20, 2024 and from bespoke professional and mediatic support.

The 5 finalists have been selected among 72 application files by an independent jury composed of contemporary art professionals, including specialists in the Beninese scene:

  • Armelle Dakouo Artistic director of AKAA and independent curator
  • Dominique Zinkpè Beninese visual artist and President of the Centre, Abomey-Calavi
  • Céline Coyac Atindehou Director of the Maison Rouge hotel
  • Lylly Houngnihin Executive director of Laboratorio Arts Contemporains

MARCEL KPOHO – @marcelkpoho

Self-taught painter and sculptor, Marcel Kpoho was born in 1988 in Poto-Novo, Benin. After having taught mathematics for several years, he decided to devote himself fully to his artistic practice. Committed to environmental causes, Marcel Kpoho gives a second life to tyres to create artworks, including monumental sculptures appropriating space. According to the artist, the tyre, an omnipresent material in our society, is also a contemporary allegory of the strength of the black man, gradually replaced by rubber.

NELLA AGUESSY – @bigmotha

Nella Aguessy, also known as BigMotha is a Beninese photographer born in 1990. Her passion stems from her early travels using her father’s analogue camera.  Influenced by her studies in economics, political science and photojournalism, Nella Aguessy aims to create a unique narrative in each of her shots. Through her photographic projects, she wants to raise debates about urgent social issues, to bring about change.

NOBEL KOTY – @nobelkoty

Born in 1988 in Cotonou, Benin, Nobel Koty is passionate about drawing from a young age. Quickly, the artist turns to the painting that offers more freedom to explore the self-portrait subtleties. On a perpetual inner quest, Nobel Koty depicts himself on a white background to free himself from all that is superficial around him. In this way, the artist creates figurative works addressing the different emotional states that make up the human being, through notions such as identity, fragility and time, enabling him to better know himself and thus better understand others.

OCEANE-MARIA ADJOVI – @mariaadjovi

Océane-Maria Adjovi is a painter from Benin, born in 1996 in Porto-Novo. After studying at the Ecole Supérieure d’Administration d’Economie et des métiers de l’Audiosuel in Benin, the latter integrated into the Beaux-Arts in Paris, France.  Reinvesting religious codes to create her language, the young painter’s works are allegories of her penitence.

NAULD ADJAHUIME – @nauld_photography

Born in Cotonou, Benin in 1992, François Arnaud Adjahuime, called Nauld practised photography for 8 years. Seeking to document the cultural richness of his native country, the young man catches the very essence of communities, traditions and human experiences. Mixing photojournalism and creative aesthetics, his images reinterpret the daily life beauty, too often neglected. Also interested in ancestral rites and their transmission to young generations, Nauld Adjhuime combines the abstract and the figurative, the mystic and the physical, bringing a contemporary vision of Voodoo cults.

Related to a theme specific to each edition (« Contemporary Tradition » for this 2024 edition), the ellipse Prize is an itinerant visual art competition dedicated to the artistic creation from a different country each year. This contest aims to disseminate the messages conveyed by artists from all horizons, and to encourage intercultural exchanges, making creativity a means of strengthening social bonds. Otherwise, the ellipse Prize wishes to encourage emerging artists’ mobility and initiate professionnal opportunities beyond borders.

The exhibition of the finalists will be on view from the 27th of June until the 19th of July, 2024, at Maison Rouge, in Cotonou, partner of the Prize. For more information, please visit ellipse Prize.

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