SANDA AMADOU

Visual artist | Benin

The unexpected universe is a largely black and white world with a tinge of colour, somewhere between reality and fantasy. With his unique semi-abstract visual language, Amadou reinterprets the nomadic Fulani universe and brings it to life. A dream world formed by various entangled and sometimes overlapping elements (ropes, lianas, knots, leaves, circles and other patterns from the ancient Fulani tattoos), narrative about humanism, resistance, tenacity, resilience, courage, freedom, and some other observations.

“My aim is to show to the world that pastoral nomadism is not a bad thing but a way of living, a full philosophy. It can contribute to environmental protection and economic development of a society.”

Portrait

Sanda Amadou was born and raised in 1978 in a Fulani community in Northern Benin. He holds a PhD in Sociolinguistics (University of Ghana, Accra) and received art education through residencies and master’s workshops. He lived and worked in Lagos for several years, but returned to Cotonou, Benin in 2019. From his early childhood he drew, fascinated by the culture of the nomadic Fulani, which he still studies and reinterprets.

His works seem to obey a rigorous geometry and form complex architectures, which are simultaneously playful and surprisingly fragile. Lines, circles, triangles and quadrilaterals, semi-mathematical figures that are never perfect, connect Fulani symbols of natural life with ropes at the base. His images result in imaginary forms and grotesque figures that show a ragged vulnerability, ethereal and always in motion. They allow the viewer to glimpse an unreal essence.

Amadou is a recognized artist both domestically and internationally. He has participated in many solo and collective exhibitions over the years, including in Benin Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Dubai, Germany, the Netherlands and the US (San Fransisco and New York) and has been featured at major international art exhibitions and fairs such as World Art Dubai and at ARTX Lagos (Nigeria), and AKAA Paris (2021).

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Credentials

Solo exhibitions

2021

The unexpected universe, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, the Netherlands

2020

Sol Kjok, Noosphere arts’ Residency, New York, USA 

2018

“Beyond the infnite”, Museum of African Diaspora, San Francisco, USA

“Univers inattendus”, John Herman’s Gallery, Cologne, Germany

“Bergers”, Chale Wote 2018, Accra, Ghana.

2017

“Nomadic Fulani herdsmen”, Élizabeth Gallery, Dubai, UEA 

2016

“Fulani body marks”, Gallery La Suite, Cotonou, Republic of Benin

2015

“Beyond the infnite”, Gallery la Suite, Cotonou, Republic of Benin

2014

“Africa moves on”, Gallery AKA, Nyamey, Niger republic

2009

“Symbolic universe of Fulani tattoos”, French cultural center, Parakou, Benin republic

Group exhibitions

2020

Roots, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, the Netherlands   

SOBEBRA, Maison Rouge, Cotonou, republic of Benin 

2018

“Retro Africa”, Generation Y, Abuja, Nigeria

2017

African culture and Design Festivale,  Lagos, Nigeria

“Doto et Sanda”, Institut français de Cotonou, Cotonou, République du Bénin.

2016

Art X Lagos, Lagos state, Nigeria

2015

World Art Dubai,  Dubaï, EAU

2012

Promo Art Jeunese Place des Martyrs, Cotonou, republic of Benin

Artistic residence

2020

OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, The Netherlands

Sol Kjok, Noosphere arts’ Residency, NYC