Photo Credit: Trust Tru Katsande
The Longest Graffiti Mural In Africa Honors Benin's Dahomey Kingdom
Benin’s capital city Cotonou is home to Africa’s longest graffiti mural, according to Africa News. A visual spectacle over 940 meters long, the wall functions as an open-air museum of sorts.
The artwork was created by 40 professional graffiti artists from various African nations, as well as abroad, who responded to the invitation to participate in decorating the wall for the seventh edition of the Graffiti Effect Festival. Each year, the festival attracts more than 10,000 participants and brings together artists from all over the world.
The mission of the artistic festival is to create artwork celebrating the rich history of Benin from the year 1150 to today. This includes honoring the ancient Dahomey Kingdom, which was largely known for its unique artwork and all-women military unit.
Jean Marc Ouinsou, who volunteered as the project’s manager, said, “Deep down, people don’t know who is really behind it. But when we pass by, we say to ourselves, ‘Here I am. I contributed to this. It’s for my country.’ We gave strength so that there is color and beauty.”
Local graffiti artist, Seencelor la Bombe is proud to have contributed to the wall’s artwork.
He said, “My work in the purple background you see is about King Gbehanzin, the former king of Dahomey. You will often notice that he is in the middle with his pipe with two women behind him, one of whom is holding the parasol and the other just standing. This gentleman inspires me a lot.”
The work has been widely accepted and appreciated by both the people of Benin and the authorities. It is their hope that in honoring their country’s historical legacy, the longest graffiti mural, together with the recent renovation of the Ouidah Fort, will also help boost tourism to the West African nation.
If you’re ever in Cotonou, take a tour of the wall at the OCBN Central Station located in Zongo to admire the amazing artwork.