Ishola Akpo (b. 1983) is a photographer and multimedia artist in Benin. The artist experiments with the possibilities of digital mediums, while mixing modernities and traditions in his work, playing on different levels of reading to make plural metaphors. The border between reality and fiction, fixed identities and multiple identities, remains at the heart of his approach.
In 2013, he won the Visa pour la Création (French Institute, Paris), where he presented the series Pas de flash sil vous plait! A reflection on the interaction of light on photographed subjects, presented in the form of a performance and exhibition at the Institut Français de Cotonou. In 2014, he published the series L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux (Africa Is No Island, MACAAL, Fair 1.54 in Morocco, 2018), based on a family experience, which illustrates his grandmother's dowry, while insisting on its memory load. This reflection will lead him to explore contemporary marriage. In 2015, with the series Les mariés de notre époque, Ishola Akpo, won the Photoquai, entering the collection of the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
Since then he has multiples artistic residencies: Montresso Foundation (Morocco) with the Daïbi series and more recently the Zinsou Foundation (Benin) with “AGBARA Women” presented at the Ouidah Museum as an ode to the power of women, embodied with portraits of known and forgotten queens from African history.
His work has been presented in several major international events including: The Museum of the History of Immigration, (Palais de la Porte Dorée, Africa 2020 - Paris), Weltkulturen Museum Frankfurt (Germany), Fotonoviembre, Tenerife (Spain), Nuit Blanche de Port-au Prince (Haiti), Lagosphotos Festival (Nigeria), Festival Afreaka (Brazil).

Select Solo Exhibitions
2022
Solo Show - nov 2022. Sabrina Amrani. Madrid, Spain.
2020
Agbara Women. The Museum of the Zinsou Foundation. Ouidah, Benin.
2014
Pas de flash s'il vous plaît!. Institut Français. Cotonou, Benin.
2012
Les redresseurs de Calavi. Biennale Bénin off. Benin.

Group shows (selection)
2022
Les Rencontres de Bamako. 13º Edition Biennale. Bamako, Mali.
2021
Talking Mirrors. M.BASSY. Hamburg, Germany.
2021
Cosmogonies - Zinsou, une Collection Africaine. MO.CO Hôtel des collections. Montpellier, France.
2021
Ce qui s’oublie et ce qui reste. The Museum of the History of Immigration, Palais de la Porte Dorée. Paris, France.
2021
(IN)visibles, femmes souveraines. Institut Français. Cotonou, Benin.
2020
Circulaciò Perifèrica. Centre CUltural Obra Social Sa Nostra. La Palma, Spain.
2019
Rencontres de la photographie de Marrakech. El Badi Palace. Marrakech, Morocco.
2019
Wax Stories. Zinsou Foundation, Cotonou, Benin.
2018
L’ Afrique n’est pas une île. Zinsou Foundation. Cotonou, Benin.
2018
Grey is the new Pink. Weltkulturen Museum, Germany.
2018
Africa Is No Island. Museum of African Contemporary Art Al-Maaden (MACAAL). Marrakech, Morocco.
2018
In-discipline #1. Fondation CDG. Rabat, Morocco.
2018
Bridge, dak’art OFF. La villa rouge“FANN HOCK”, Senegal.
2018
Art window. Martamoriarty Collection. Spain.
2018
In-discipline #1, Montresso Art Foundation, Marrakech, Morocco.
2017
Orisha. Galerie l’Appartement, France.
2017
Chaos-monde!. Le centre, Benin.
2017
Passant souviens-toi, dit soeurette. Place des Martyrs. Cotonou, Benin.
2017
Atlántica Colectivas Fotonoviembre. Festival Internacional de Fotografía de Tenerife. Tenerife, Spain.
2017
Iy Eye of Benin, Comparing views on rituals. Biennale de Venise Off. Venice, Italy.
2016
Africa pop. Les Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles, Arles, France.
2016
Festival des nouveaux cinémas documentaires. France.
2016
Inherent Risk; Rituals and Performance. Lagosphoto Festival. Lagos, Nigeria.
2015
Encontros de Brasil e África contemporânea. Festival Afreaka. São Paulo, Brazil.
2015
África Contemporânea Atravès Do olhar de seus artistas. Aquiafrica. São Paulo, Brazil.
2015
Museum night fever. Wiels Centre d’Art Contemporain. Brussels, Belgium.
2014
Fenêtres sur le monde. Port-au-Prince by night. Haiti.
2014
Working title. Goodman Gallery. Capetown, South Africa.
2014
Sunday’s screening. Galerie Polaris. France.
2014
Festival Internacional de Fotografia de Cabo Verde. Cape Verde.
2012
Global change personal stories. 11th Aleppo International Photo Festival. Aleppo, Syria.
2012
Cinéma de l’utopia. Festival de Photographie de Toulouse. France.
2011
6ème Forum transculturel d’art contemporain AfricAmericA. Institut Français. Haiti.
2011
Bas les Masques. Ville de Guyancourt. France.

Art Fairs
2018
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Morocco

Awards
2018
Shortlisted at Capprize, the contemporary African photography.
2017
Shortlisted at Orisha, contemporary African art, France.
2015
Winner residence Photoquai, Musée du quai Branly- Jacques-Chirac, France.
2013
Winning visa for creation, Institut français, Paris, France.
2012
Winner at Freelens du Webdoc, Toulouse Photography Festival, Toulouse, France.
2011
Winner Foundation Heinrich Böll, South Africa.

Residencies
2019
Residency for creation and research. Zinsou Foundation, Cotonou, Benin.
2018
Residency for research. Addaya, Centre d'Art Contemporani, Alaró, Spain.
2017
Residency for creation. Mosso-Dokountin, Bohicon, Benin.
2017
Residency for creation. Montresso Art Foundation, Marrakech, Morocco.
2017
Residency for creation and research. Le Centre, Benin
2016
Residency for creation and research. Photoquai, Musée du Quai Branly, Jacques-Chirac, France.
2013
Scholarship from The Institut Français. Cité international des arts, France
2009
Scholarship from Foundation AfricAméricA, Hospitalité/Inhospitalité. Senegal.

Public Collections
Collection Zinsou
Collection Musée du Quai Branly
Collection Fondation Montresso
Collection Addaya Art Contemporani
Collection Marta Moriarty

Workshops and Lectures
2021
Photography and Heritage. Discussion with 1st year digital design students. Africa design school, Benin. Invited by Claire Hazoumé
2020
Love Etc... Research and creation workshop. ENSATT - École Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Techniques du Théatre. Lyon, France.
2016
Research and creation workshop. ENSA - École Nationale Supérieure d’Art de Dijon, France. Invited by Pascale Séquer, Luc Adami.