Long before French became the main language, Beninese literature had a rich oral history. L’Esclave, the first Beninese book, was written in 1929 by Félix Couchoro.
Following independence, the country’s music culture was lively and creative, with local folk music blending with Ghanaian highlife, French cabaret, American rock, funk and soul, and Congolese rumba.
Angélique Kidjo and Djimon Hounsou were both born in Cotonou, Benin. Wally Badarou, a composer, and Gnonnas Pedro, a vocalist, are both of Beninese origin.
Biennale Benin began in the nation in 2010 as a collaborative event named “Regard Benin,” carrying on the initiatives of various organizations and artists. The initiative was transformed into a Biennial in 2012, managed by the Consortium, a coalition of local organizations. Abdellah Karroum and the Curatorial Delegation curate the international exhibition and creative program of the 2012 Biennale Benin.