Musician Eric Acakpo and dance-artist Francesca Pedullà have worked together since 2004, teaching, creating contexts for cultural and artistic exchange and performing in Benin and abroad. Confronted both personally and professionally by the benefits and the challenges of being in a dialogue besides cultural differences and unconscious bias, they committed to focusing their work on exploring how such dialogue can be mutually enriching and transformative.

Sonagnon was founded in 2006 to pursue their work and research among collectivities. It provides an exchange and learning platform for artists.

We work inclusively with local communities and test the impact that the encounter between different forms of art and different cultures have on each of us.





Both of these terms derive from the Latin word “MUNUS “, which means gift, office or obligation towards someone.

COM[MUN]ITAS| IM[MUN]ITAS  is an artistic transdisciplinary, intercultural initiatìve that inquires about MUNUS in its declinations and modality,  and  the reciprocity and the exemption of MUNUS  in shaping and regulating human relationships.


The initiative will consist of: the production of a dance-theater, live music show  MUNUS and the editorial production of MANTEIA –  A collection of some of the most significant stories belonging to the traditional heritage of Benin’s culture.

The book and the show, born around the same thematic and realized through the same tools albeit in different artistic fields, move together, offering different translations of the same question: how to live together, navigating between the concepts of immunity and community?

A collaborative project

A collaborative project

COM[MUN]ITAS IM[MUN]ITAS was born and nurtured thanks to multiple collaborations between individual artists, associations and festivals.  Artists, pedagogues and independent curators Eric Acakpo, Francesca Pedullà and Nuvola Vandini  meet  thanks to the  Axis Syllabus International Network , a terrain in which perspectives, researches, initiatives can grow and intersect with each other.

Bearers of varied knowledge and tools, the three artists create contexts of exchange, dialogue, research and pollination through creative practices and methodologies. 




INTERCULTURAL, increasingly imminent and urgent to observe in its complex dynamics, is used here as a field of investigation to experience and research the benefits and challenges of being in dialogue despite the differences and unconscious prejudices. Furthermore, the interest in values, languages ​​common to all bodies is fundamental, without the intention of canceling the differences, but recognizing and respecting them.


MULTIDISCIPLINARY Performing arts, which is their  privileged field, are not  here the ultimate goal, but rather show themselves as the chosen tool for a social, political and cultural investigation of the present. Dialogue and integration between all the arts, and with the sciences, is necessary, in order to strive towards an observation and translation of the reality that we all share as three-dimensional as possible.

Munus: Dance Theatre, Music Show

With this work the potential of the body, the internal and external architectures that arise from the embodiment of the state of immunity and community is tested. Positioning ourselves or crossing the spectrum of possibilities of states that are contained between the two extremes (immunity and community), how are internal relations within the body calibrated and consequently, how are those with the outside? With an observer’s attitude , Munus  weaves  poetic landscapes to lead the viewer towards their own reflection on what seems an established yet often little-named contemporary paradigm: immunity. 

Sonagnon’s mission in this new project,  represents such an evident manifestation of one of the declinations of the concept of immunity that Professor Esposito* describes to us: “that the individual body is being undermined by a widespread disease, the political body by a violent intrusion or the electronic body by a deviant message, what remains constant is the place where the threat is located: which is always that of the border between the inside and the outside, the proper and foreign, the individual and the common”.

An important collaboration is with the artist Marco Barbieri aka DEM. His research is focusing on the history of cultures, in traditions, and in the symbols and systems related to them. His work, of great impact, plays on the border between languages. DEM will create the sets and costumes for MUNUS, mixing land-art works transposed onto the scene, and the construction of masks that translate the key principles underlying MUNUS

Munus sees at work a company composed half of European artists and half of Togolese and Beninese artists, carrying out the production between the two continents, thanks to the partnership of:

CCRI John Smith; Institute Française de Cotonou; Mainfranken Theater Würzburg Tanz Compagnie; Axis Syllabus Research Meshwork.

MANTEIA Language from an abstract world

A collection of art and tradition under the sign of dialogue between different cultures. A collection of some of the most significant stories belonging to the FA: geomancy or divination technique, the word derives from the Greek geōmanteía geō “earth” and manteía “divination”.


The Fa is a cultural archive of Indo-European, Middle Eastern and African influences, it is a compendium of stories, legends, songs, metaphors and symbolic references, as well as a method of divination, linked to the Vodun religion and practiced above all by the Fon and Youruba ethnic groups. The Fa is a key to understanding the customs and worldviews of many modern African cultures, it links storytelling, chanting and sophisticated moral instructions to a mathematical structure that stimulates memory and provokes reflection and self-discovery.


Each story is illustrated by an illustrator, weaving  drawings by several hands, representative of the collective gaze that the same tradition of the FA proposes. Sara Bernardi, Marta Viviani are the first of the chorus of illustrators who will take part in Manteìa.

The book will also include some songs in the FON language, belonging to the FA. Recorded at Spectrum Studio in Bologna, with the music and voice of Eric Acakpo, the audio contributions will be downloadable through a QR Code inserted in the book.

The book is for kids from 8 to 90 years,  the stories are presented in a sparse and neutral way, to allow the young and non-young reader to imagine and make his own thoughts flourish. At the same time, the illustrators  also will produce an ‘archetypal image, capable of bringing together multiple generations. Bilingualism is offered as a tool for comparison and learning, for all age groups, also opening up to the vast Francophone world.

Creative workshops for children, offered in Bologna and other Italian cities and in Ouidah (Benin) will accompany the reading and dissemination of the book


Bilingual edition: Italian-French

Curated by: ScieFestival, Association culturelle Sonagnon.

Text selection: Eric Acakpo, Francesca Pedullà, Nuvola Vandini

Text editor: Paola Mordiglia

Illustrations: Sara Bernardi, Marta Viviani & Guests

Graphics: Benedetta Stefani

Audio recording: Spectrum Studio

Coordination: Costanza Rosa

Translations: Alliance Francaise of Bologna