The eighth edition of the Graffiti festival ”Effet Graff Benin” opened on April 11, 2022 and allows to tell through drawings the story of the peoples of Benin and Africa on the wall of the Port of Cotonou. Entitled “The new Benin, wall of the port”, it is a project on African cultures to regain possession of the history of Africa and Benin in particular in order to project itself into the future.
It is an international festival of urban arts that allows several national graffiti artists, from the sub-region and the West, to reveal their talent to the public during more than a month. It attracts artists from Benin, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Morocco, Brazil, Martinique and France.
Indeed, initiated for the first time in Benin in 2013 by Laurenson Djihouessi under the aegis of the ASSART association, the Effet Graff festival intends to make art accessible to all through the promotion of urban cultures; to celebrate and honour the black emblematic figures that marked the history of Benin, Africa and the world. The festival promoter’s ambition is to make Benin one of Africa’s references in graffiti and urban arts.
Thus, for this 8th edition, it is the wall of the Autonomous Port of Cotonou (PAC), a space of 660 meters which is now used as a support to create an open air museum.
A museum like no other where the frescoes represent the history of the country as well as a perspective of the “new Benin” people dream of. “The idea behind this theme is to tell the story of Benin, to talk about the current life of the country and to project the future,” said Lionel Attèrè, one of the local painters and graffiti artists of the event. Thus, we find representations of slavery, the African woman, the guèlèdè, the zémidjan, local cotton production, King Gbèhanzin, the symbols of the kingdom of Abomey.
Lionel Attèrè, says he is happy to have contributed to this work of art, which is considered the longest wall in the world. On this occasion, he chose to promote local production. “For me, the new Benin is the developed Benin and there is no developed Benin without local transformation, without valuing our culture.
Thanks to these graffiti artists, this area, which is considered to be one of the busiest in Cotonou, will have received a major boost in light and artistic colour. One cannot pass by without discovering a part of Benin’s history.
In addition, the Effet Graff festival is one of the most important artistic events in Africa. It contributes to ” city aesthetics, sanitization and the development of an ideal, beautiful, attractive, peaceful and colourful living environment ” says the Director of the National Gallery, Mrs Léa Awunou Roufaï. As a result, this project by the Assart association fits in well with the Beninese government’s ambition to develop and promote tourism in all its forms. It should be noted that this festival benefits from the unfailing support of the Claudine Talon Foundation.
The port wall, which is the subject of this edition, is gradually entering the list of tourist sites in Cotonou. Note that this 8th edition of the Effet Graff festival will end on May 20th due to the delay in the start-up.