Words Kiran Yoliswa Photography Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou
Beninoise photographer Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou studied his craft on late nights watching his renowned photographer father, Joseph Moise Agbodjelou, print and develop film in his Porto Novo studio. Agbodjelou junior has since taken over the building, adding Benin's first photography school, and exhibited worldwide.
Agbodjelou's latest showcase, Demoiselles De Porto Novo, is on display at London’s Jack Bell Gallery, where his ongoing exploration of Porto Novo's Afro-Brazilian history shifts its focus onto its female citizens.
Juxtaposing their traditionally bared breasts and ceremonial masks against the crumbling history of his family’s old colonial mansion, the work is "deeply personal, yet very telling about Benin’s colonial history and cultural heritage" says gallery director Jack Bell.
Demoiselles de Porto Novo is open until October 20 at the Jack Bell Gallery, 13 Mason’s Yard, London, SW1Y 6BU.