From Benin Republic, West Africa where he was born in 1969, he traveled the world thanks to his talent which opened him the doors of exhibitions, workshops and residences across Africa, in Europe and in South America.
Self-taught artist, he won many awards including Young Talent Africa at Abidjan in 1993 and Prix UEMOA in 2002 at Dakar Biennale and is an internationally distinguished artist of the contemporary African art scene. His works have even been documented into several books and can be found on sale at auctions online too. Let’s meet Dominique Zinkpe!
Draughtsman at heart, Painter and Sculptor
For me, everything starts with drawing” – Dominique Zinpke.
Dominique’s passion for drawing things is a long love story so tight that he considers actually leaving a part of himself in his works. His pencil or brush, paints what he would rather call ‘enlarged drawings’ which are actually canvases depicting cultural, spiritual and societal realities of Africa as well as some significant contemporary facts.
Seeking to ultimately capture and paint the bare soul, Dominique Zinkpe has a particular style featuring floating-like bodies, physiques and decors along his productions. He is also a sculptor and thinks that sculpture allows him to cross the limitations of flat canvas and to materialize his painting in real dimensions.
Bronze is one of the raw materials he uses to translate his paintings into figures with a special technique named ‘’the lost steel technique’’ which he picked up from craftsmen in the city of Abomey (140 Km from the North of Cotonou) where he grew up. Are you curious to know what his works really look like? Let’s discover his latest exhibition!
“SHARING OF TERRITORIES” by Dominique Zinkpe
We went on a guided tour at Fondation Zinsou in Cotonou to contemplate Domminique Zinkpe’s latest exhibition open to the public.
As you step into the entrance hall you surprisingly come across lots of slippers artistically aligned in a forward direction and one question pops up in your mind: what does all these mean and why are they here?
Domination, Young Lady, Life is beautiful are titles of some of his works you can see there.
This is a cross he realized with small figurines called “Ibeji” in Yoruba language (Nigeria), “Hoho” in Fon language (Benin) or “Vénanvi” in Togo and Ghana. They actually represent Twins in the culture of these four West African countries.
SHARING OF TERRITORIES – is the name given to the whole exhibition. The artist addresses here the challenge of demographic growth together with the symbol that every person has it own destiny.
COTONOU 2059 – Here, Dominique Zinkpe expresses his (optimistic) vision of Benin in 50 years time with his starting point back in 2009. Dim room, fluorescent light colors on the walls and wooden/carton small buildings displaying Cotonou in 2059 with modernized changes in the city’s aspect but some key places still recognizable and freedom given to visitors to make their own interpretations.
VOYAGE – People travel since the inception of the world and for various reasons. This depicts the clandestine immigration phenomenon.These slippers around the boat represent each migrant.
Overall the exhibition is worth discovering as it let’s you go through a wonderful experience designed by one of the most important African artists of today.
Some of the works of Dominique on sale at auction here.
What do you think about his works?
Share with us in the comments below!