Visual artist | Benin

Amadou’s 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), with a 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.”


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 and tattoos of the nomadic Fulani, which he still studies and reinterprets.

Amadou has developed a unique semi-abstract style of drawing and painting exploring and depicting the universe based on these impressive body marks and spent the first 6 years of his artistic career (1999-2005) on Fulani tattoos. His first solo exhibition was held in Nyamey (Republic of Niger) in 2002 at the Palais des Congres. From 2006 onwards, he redirected his research on the universe of the nomadic Fulani herdsmen, increasingly connecting it to the outside world, mixing and connecting it in various ways with other worlds of culture, for example in his dance, poetry and divinities studies. His divinities study led him amongst others to the concept of sacredness.

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 of natural life with ropes at its 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.

In his latest work Amadou is experimenting with 3D effects adding different textures and sculpting on canvas with plated synthetic hairs in different variations. For his Sacred places series he uses these braids to create sacred forest monasteries as a metaphor for the need to canonise and protect the natural environment and rebalance human relationship with nature.

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, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Dubai, Germany, the Netherlands and the US (San Francisco 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 and solo 2022).

Share this article:


Solo exhibitions

Garden of Eden, duo solo with Antoine Janot,OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, The Netherlands


Sacred spaces, AKAA Paris, via OpenArtExchange, Paris, France


The unexpected universe, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, the Netherlands


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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

Group exhibitions


Spirituality, trio exhibition met Kingsley Ogwara en Serge Diama, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, Netherlands (scheduled)

Visual legacies, via Togo Créatif & Avhec Arts/Goethe institute/Institute Francaise, Lomé, Togo

DAF Cologne, via OpenArtExchange, Cologne, Germany


Art The Hague, via OpenArtExchange, Den Haag, Nederland

DAF Cologne, via OpenArtExchange, Cologne, Germany

“What will they tell us”, trio with George Adeagbo and Cristelle Yaovi, Kulturforum Süd-Nord, Calavi, Benin  

First Art Fair, via OpenArtExchange, Amsterdam, Netherlands 

Lille ArtUp!, via OpenArtExchange, Lille, France 


ST-ART Strasbourg, via OpenArtExchange, Strasbourg, France 

DAF Frankfurt, via OpenArtExchange, Frankfurt, Germany

AKAA Paris, via OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, the Netherlands


Roots, OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, the Netherlands   

SOBEBRA, Maison Rouge, Cotonou, republic of Benin 


“Retro Africa”, Generation Y, Abuja, Nigeria


African culture and Design Festivale,  Lagos, Nigeria

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


Art X Lagos, Lagos state, Nigeria


World Art Dubai,  Dubaï, EAU


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

Artistic residence


Togo Créatif/Avhec Arts, sponsored by Goethe Instut/Institute Francaise, Lomé, Togo


Bernard Fabry, Aix-en-Provence, France

OpenArtExchange, Schiedam, The Netherlands


Sol Kjok, Noosphere arts’ Residency, NYC