Visit the Zinsou Museum to Receive Basket of Contemporary African Art and Learn About Benin’s Slavery History

Photo: Fondation Zinsou


The Villa Ajavon, a Togolese trader’s ancient home built in Quidah in 1922, is one of the relics of a slave trade fueled by the exploits of the Portuguese in the 16th century. According to the Zinsou Foundation, Quidah was a major slave port that housed and shipped hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans to America, specifically the Caribbean and Brazil.

Quidah was a major trading center when the Dahomey colony established itself as an economic powerhouse. As a result, the Vila Ajavon becomes a significant historical landmark, drawing hundreds of tourists to the area. According to the Hindustan Times, it has now become a destination for artists and collectors interested in African art and history.

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Tourists used to come to Quidah solely to explore and tour the slave dungeons and their history, as well as to learn about the Brazilian architecture that can be found all over the island. Another gift awaits those who make the pilgrimage. This is the Zinsou Museum, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Benin City because of its public gallery of African art and the rich history embedded in the hundreds of artifacts on display.

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Zinsou Museum of Contemporary African Art has recently expanded to become a one-stop shop for contemporary African art. It is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s few museums dedicated solely to contemporary African art. The Zinsou Museum was founded by Marie-Zinsou. She hoped to open a gallery that would serve both local and international collectors and curators of African art.

She was inspired by the difficulties she faced while planning a charity trip to an art museum with a youth group in 2005. She had trouble finding a place for the children to go where there was an exhibition of African art.

She raised the necessary funds for the museum with the assistance of a French businessman based in Benin and her father. The art gallery, which first opened its doors in 2005, welcomes both African and international artists and collectors.

During its first eight years of operation, the museum attracted four million visitors, the majority of whom were students, according to Zinsou Foundation records. The foundation was able to amass a diverse collection of contemporary African art over time. The Zinsou Museum’s ambition is to become a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary African art.

This is part of a larger project to renovate Villa Ajavon to meet international standards. No air conditioning has been installed in the main hall to avoid making drastic changes to the building’s exterior. Visitors will be forced to rely on ventilation provided by the building’s openings through sunlight corridors.



Written by How Africa News

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