JuLien Degan

Sculptor | Benin

Julien Degan creates burned wooden wall sculptures with mixed media. His works are full of hidden meaning and symbolism.

“My works bear the imprints of my commitment, my concerns and my hopes for a better world”

Portrait

Julien Degan (1962) is a self-taught painter and sculptor from Benin. As an educator and a concerned and committed artist, he primarily works with non-biodegradable materials and wood waste.

Originating from the village of Tindji in the Za-Kpota commune, Julien was born on January 9, 1962, in Cotonou. His first exhibition, titled “Les Arts Rudologique” (1998, at the headquarters of the NGO ENDA Tiers Monde), emphasized the utility of art by infusing it with an expressive dimension.

Degan deepened and broadened his artistic career following encounters with artist Gregory Warmack (“Mr Imagination”) in Chicago (United States of America) and Cotonou, resulting in two exhibitions: one in Chicago and one in Cotonou. Subsequently, Julien Degan exhibited his works in collective and individual exhibitions in Cotonou, Bohicon, Abomey, Porto Novo (Benin), Luxembourg, Brussels, and Ganvié (Benin).

To create his works, he uses bottles, caps, pieces of wood (often partially burned), paper, and paint, with wood taking a predominant place. For about ten years, he has been reclaiming pieces of teak wood, rejects from Chinese industries that contribute to the deforestation of Benin’s plant cover. 

Degan notably uses the “yaki sugi” or “shou sugi” burned wood technique, a technique of Japanese origin for the natural protection of wood.

Among his recent works, the wall sculptures stand out. We recognize the life of the wood and the suffering of the tree beneath the signs, symbols, and other drawings he places there – signs and symbols drawn from cultures of the world, particularly from Africa. Apart from his works created with waste, Julien Degan also works with more conventional techniques such as paintings on canvas, panel, and paper.

With these works, he aims to raise awareness among humans “who are the greatest predators” about the harmful consequences of their management of the environment and its resources.

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Credentials

Solo exhibitions

2020

COVID-19 BLUES, Bohicon Restaurant-bar RACINE

2016

Site Archéologique d’Agongointo, Bohicon Bénin

Siège FUPRO-Bénin Bohicon
 
2015
Hôtel des Princes Bohicon Bénin
 
2014
Site Archéologique d’Agongointo, Bohicon Bénin
 
2013
Journée Internationale des Musées, Site Archéologique d’Agongointo, Bohicon
Bénin
 
2012
Journée Internationale des Musées, Site Archéologique d’Agongointo, Bohicon
Bénin
2002
Hôtel Cafés Cauris Coquillages, Togbin, Cotonou
 
2001
Marina Hôtel

1998
Les Arts Rudologiques de Julien DEGAN, Siège de l’ONG ENDA Tiers-Monde à
Cotonou

Group exhibitions

2023

Down to earth, OpenArtExchange, The Netherlands

2023

Intersection avec Thierno DIALLO (Mali), résidence de l’Ambassadeur des PaysBas au Bénin

2019

Journée Internationale des Arts Plastiques, Ganvié, Bénin

2018

Dokountin #4, Mairie de Bohicon Fresque Mural en collaboration avec des
artistes belges.

2017

Artists Club/ Coffe-fort, BRUSSELS Dokountin #9

2011

Grenier du moulin Beckerich Luxembourg

2010

Education et citoyenneté, Centre OUADADA Porto-Novo, Bénin

2008

40ème Anniversaire du corps de la PAIX, Centre Culturel Américain

Rencarts, Place Lénine / CCF / ARTISTIK BENIN

Art et Vodoun, Musée d’Abomey

2006

Du passé à une ère nouvelle, Musée d’Abomey

2005

NUBASO, Médiathèque des Diasporas Cotonou, Bénin

2004

Mélange, Centre Culturel Américain

2003

Bras de fer pour la sauvegarde de l’environnement, Médiathèque des Diasporas
Cotonou, Bénin

Festival Gospel et Racine, Palais des Congrès Cotonou, Bénin

2001

Les Réminiscences Vodoun dans l’art contemporain au Bénin et dans les
Amériques, avec Nancy Josephson, Centre Culturel Américain Cotonou

2000

Mélange avec feu Grégory Warmack de Chicago USA, Centre Culturel Américain,
Cotonou

EPARS, Médiathèques des Diasporas, Cotonou

1999

House of Blues Hôtel, Chicago Illinois, USA

Fête de Vodoun, Musée d’Histoire de OUIDAH

1998

Dialogue pour un monde meilleur, Centre Culturel Américain Cotonou, Bénin