Tokoudagba was born in Abomey, Benin in 1939. Tokoudagba practiced
several activities related to painting and sculpture simultaneously.
This Beninese artist is a restorer at the National Museum in
Abomey, where he came in contact with the very rich traditions
of Benin painting, a country that was one of the most prominent
cultural cradles of the African continent, and was chopped up
by colonial boundaries.
also works on the decorations of numerous Vodun buildings, private
or institutional temples, from the most modest (a single wall
painting, Vodun divinity, or domestic or regional fetish...)
to the most elaborate. These wall paintings are made up of the
symbolic figureheads of political and especially religious power,
and are often a confusion of both, as well as the geometrical
cultural signs on the walls of the place of worship. The sculptures
borrow from the traditions of Beninese sculpture, which is often
anthropomorphic and very large. Concrete, a modern substitute
for traditional materials, is worked on when it is still boxed,
then carved before it is completely dry, and finally painted.
These statues have the faces of Vodun divinities, of which Legba
is the central figure.
abandoning the wall paintings that he is commissioned, Cyprien
Tokoudagba undertook 1989 some large canvasses in which he combined,
taking great liberties, the emblems of the kings of Abomey,
symbols of the divinities (Earth, Fire, Water, Air) and various
objects related to his culture. The combination of all these
faces, objects and signs make his paintings look like a strange
Contemporary African Art Collection