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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 40 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.
  • photo © jonathan Greet
  • photo © jonathan Greet
  • photo © jonathan Greet
  • photo © jonathan Greet
  • photo © jonathan Greet


Gérard Quenum

Gérard Quenum was born in the coastal town of Porto Novo, the official capital of the Republic of Benin, in 1971. He is part of the latest generation of sophisticated young francophone artists now breaking out of Africa and demanding wider recognition for their art on the international stage. Benin has long been blessed with a wealth of outstanding contemporary artists, with Cyprien Tokoudagba and Georges Adeagbo coming early to the attention of western collectors in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Hot on their heels came ever more celebrated artists such as Romuald Hazoumè, Dominique Kouas, the Dakpogan brothers et al. More recently, a rising generation of “street artists” has been developing around Porto Novo and Cotonou, This tightly-knit group, marshalled by the eccentric creativity of Dominique Zinkpé, arranged spontaneous exhibitions of their work not in the fine art galleries (of which Benin boasts precious few!) but outside on the city streets. They called this succession of guerrilla exhibitions - “Boulev’art” (Art on the Boulevard). Gerard Quenum stands out amongst these younger tyros, as the original creator of a distinct sculptural style, and, with growing maturity, his work is now to be found in galleries on the grand Boulevards of Paris as well as the finer streets of London.


Gérard Quenum - Dolls Never Die
Gérard Quenum - Clandestins
Aganza Afrika - African Art Now
October Gallery Spring Show 2008


(The Model)

(Japanese Woman)


La bonne bergère
(The Good Sheperdess)

Nouveau cosmonaute
(New Cosmonaut)


Je suis le messager
(I Am the Messenger)

En jouant les gros-bras
(Flexing Muscle)

Mort au dictateur. Vive la dictature!
(Death to the Dictator. Long Live Dictatorship!)

Nomade aux abords du désert
(Nomad on the Edge of the Desert)





Prête pour la cuisine
(Ready for Cooking)

(Little Monk)

Le Veilleur
(The One Who Keeps Watch)

(The Equilibrist)

Photo 3



Photo 1


Voyageur (Passenger)



La Vendangeuse
(The Reaper)

Gérard Quenum Biography

b. Porto Novo, Benin, 1971.

Solo Shows
2012   Dolls Never Die, October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2010  O dragão entre dois mundos (The Dragon Between Two Worlds), Museu Afro-Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
  Humeur d’artiste, Résidence Virchaux, Cotonou, Benin
2009  Clandestins, October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2007  Residency and exhibition in Ateliers d’Allonnes, Allonnes, France

Exhibition at Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture, Fontainebleau, France

2004   Exhibitions in Chalon-sur-Saône and Chagny, France
2002   Residency and exhibition at the Kerava Museum of Art, Kerava, Finland
2000   Gérard Quenum, Galerie R. Treger, Paris, France
1999   Exhibition at the Centre Culturel Français (French Cultural Centre), Cotonou, Benin
1998   Voix intérieures (Inner Voices), Maquis Dunya, Cotonou, Benin
Group Shows
2012   Bénin contemporain, Galerie Vallois, Paris, France Moving Into Space: Football and Art in West Africa, National Football Museum, Manchester, United Kingdom
    NO LIMIT – une œuvre/un artiste, Galerie Imane Farès, Paris, France Dangerous and Divine - The Secret of the Serpent, Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal, the Netherlands
2011   África ancestral e contemporânea, Centro Municipal de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2010   Fesman (World Festival of Black Art), Dakar, Senegal
    Regard – Bénin – 1.0, Cotonou, Benin   
    Gérard Quenum et Dominique Zinkpè, Les Chailloux , St. Boil, France
2009   VOO-DOO: Hoochie Coochie and the Creative Spirit, Riflemaker, London, United Kingdom
    Artistes contemporains du Bénin, Galerie Château des Gondi, Joigny, France
    O Benin está vivo ainda là, Museu da Cultura Afro-Brasileira, Salvador-de-Bahia, Brazil
2008   Partilhar Territórios, 5th International Biennale of São Tomé and Príncipe, Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe
Bénin 2059, Fondation Zinsou, Cotonou, Benin
    Benin, de corpo e alma, Galeria Bernardo Marques, Lisbon, Portugal
    Angaza Afrika, African Art Now, October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
    Bénin, corps et âme, Multimedia library, Melun, France
    L’oeil de Caïn, Festival Sun’art, Lourmarin, France
2007   Reflets d’Afrique, l’Espal, Le Mans, France
    Voyages - Crossing the Lake of Fire, October Gallery, London, United Kingdom
    O Benin está vivo ainda là, Museu Afro-Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
2004   Workshop and exhibition, Chalon-sur-Saône, France
    Africas, Galerie Raquel Arnaud, São Paulo, Brazil
2003   Mural together with Zinkpè and Tchif, Maison des Auteurs (House of Authors), Limoges, France
2002   Ewole, International Encounter of Fine Art, Togo
    Collective of eight artists in Pontigny, Yonne, France
2001   Tchif, Quenum, Zinkpè, trois jeunes béninois, travelling exhibition in Benin, Niger,
Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast
    Boulv’art, les artistes dans la rue, Cotonou, Benin
    Boulv’art, La Ciotat, France
2000   Bénin, City Hall of Cergy-Pontoise, Pontoise, France
    Boulv’art, les artistes dans la rue, Cotonou, Benin
    Rendering Visible: Contemporary Art from the Republic of Benin, October Gallery,
London and Cambridge University, United Kingdom
    L’harmattan 2000, 1st Benin Salon of Contemporary Art, Cotonou, Benin
1999   Boulv’art, les artistes dans la rue, Cotonou, Benin
1996   Ewole, International Encounter of Fine Art, Togo
1995   Expo, art béninois contemporain, Centre Culturel Français (French Cultural Centre), Cotonou, Benin
1994   Festaco, Porto-Novo, Benin
The British Museum, London, United Kingdom
The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva, Switzerland
National Museums of Scotland, Scotland
Museu Afro-Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
Estúdio Buck, São Paulo, Brazil
Galeria Bernardo Marques, Lisbon, Portugal
Museu Nacional da Cultura Afro-Brasileira, Salvador-de-Bahia, Brazil
Government of Benin, Benin
Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Stanford, USA

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367