Project Overview

Reviving Benin: History of an African Festival

Art Collection

Photographs by: Nseabasi Akpan


Exhibition Summary: In the first collection of contemporary African art from The Olaju Art Group to travel to the United States, Reviving Benin features Nigerian photographer, Nseabasi Akpan who uses photography to foster the discussion of culturally significant topics. This exhibition presents selected images sharing the unique story of a nation in West Africa which has experienced a remarkable series of events.

Reviving Benin offers an authentic perspective of African history through the lens of a photographer with strong cultural ties to the subjects and theme. For the past four years, Nseabasi has attended the Voodoo festival, increasing his own cultural understanding and enhancing the scope of his collection. He provides an all access pass to masquerade performances on the festival ground and behind the scene images captured within the local community. This exhibition is accompanied by educational content aimed at informing viewers on cultural studies related to African history. Expected learning outcomes for the Reviving Benin exhibition consist of;

  • Historical Evolution of The Republic of Benin
  • Impact of The Slave Trade To West Africa
  • Issues Concerning Voodoo Misconceptions


11831868_10207539217221618_1832857975_o (3)

Abstract of The Festival: The city of Ouidah located in Benin along the West African coast has a cultural and spiritual history which few outsiders are aware of and even less are able to comprehend. Throughout the slave years, many Africans drew their strength to endure from their religion. After slavery was abolished, a large number of Africans repatriated home to an unexpected and emotional reunion with now distant relatives. Shortly after, The Voodoo Festival was established to honor ancestors lost and celebrate the survivors who never lost hope. Visual arts has since been used as a platform for the commemoration of events which are rooted into the regions identity.