Year 11 Art Field Trip

Marc-Alain Adjahi and Nnedi Hirnet, Year 11

Charly Djikou is a Beninese artist (sculptor) born in 1973, who lives and works on his sculptures in Abomey-Calavi.  His sculptures are made of stone, such as granite and marble. Djikou has a primary school education, but did not go further in school, and spent the rest of his childhood on the streets. This is where he found the inspiration for his art, he says. “Art is liberating, and has no boundaries,” Djikou states, and all of his sculptures convey an important message.

The sculptures on display at the Institut Français are made of the following four rocks: granite from Dan, granite from Dassa, granite from Savalou and marble from Lanta. All these rocks are from within Benin, as Djikou finds great importance in preserving his culture. He says, “Many artists use wood for their sculptures. However, the majority of Benin lies on rocks; why not use them instead.”

Djikou’s sculptures are named in three different languages. Some were given titles in Fon, some in Yoruba and a few in French. One, for example, was given the title Hêgbazamê. It portrayed a bird in nature, with a closed beak, secured by a piece of string. The message this sculpture is supposed to transmit is that even though the bird is free and gets to marvel and learn about nature around it, it is restricted to the words ‘tweet, tweet,’ which tells its viewers to remember simplicity, and to keep our mouths from running off, and rather to mind ourselves.

The field trip was very rewarding for every single student, and pushed them all to reflect on themselves, their ethnicity and their inner and outer peace.

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